‘The Place is on Fire’ — Dutch Farmer Road Blockades, Hay Fires Continue Over Night

A driver in a digger vehicule pushes debris dumped during a farmers' demonstration against
SEM VAN DER WAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

Major highways were once again shut down throughout The Netherlands on Thursday as the direct action taken by farmers to blockade roads with manure and burning bales of hay continued Wednesday evening and into the morning.

Dutch motorways, including the A7 between Groningen and Drachten and the A1 near Poorest experienced closures again on Thursday, according to the Rijkswaterstaat, the public works branch of the government responsible for maintaining roads.

Animal manure, car tyres and other waste were continuously strewn across roadways throughout Wednesday and into Thursday morning, and bales of hay were set on fire, causing dangerous situations for motorists especially in the dark, the De Telegraaf newspaper reported.

At least two accidents have been recorded, involving several cars, as a result of garbage on the roads, however, so far, no one has been seriously injured, according to Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

Efforts to clear the roads have been stymied by the discovery of asbestos in some of the piles of waste, as well as threats made to clean-up crews. Roadwork contracting companies have allegedly been threatened on social media with repercussions if they join the government effort to clear the roads. A post on Telegram reportedly said: “Cooperating is treason”.

Many contractors have also told the government that they did not want to help with the cleanup regardless, as they supported the cause of the farmers, some of whom are their customers.

The protests over the past month have seen thousands of Dutch farmers use their tractors to block roads and key infrastructure in defiance of the green agenda of globalist Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The controversial plans to reduce nitrogen emissions by 50 per cent in the Netherlands could see upwards of 30 per cent of the nation’s farmlands shut down, threatening the livelihoods of thousands, many of whose families have worked the land for generations.

Rutte’s liberal coalition government has said that the move is necessary to fall in line with requirements from the European Union on preserving wildlife, however, the farmers have argued that his government is going farther than any other EU member state and therefore putting them at an unfair disadvantage.

In response to the road blockades, the chairman of the Dutch Dairy Farmers’ Union, Henk Bleker called on the protesters to refrain from using actions that could “endanger human lives”.

Bleker said that he “radically rejected this way of demonstrating,” arguing that it may result in public opinion turning against the cause.

However, he ultimately laid the blame for chaotic scenes on the government’s refusal to negotiate in good faith with the farmers.

“I am sick of playing hide-and-seek and the word games of this cabinet,” the union boss said of the government, calling on them to spell out whether they would be willing to reconsider the central elements of the “unfair” nitrogen policy and come to the table for talks with the farmers.

Bleker warned: “Come back from vacation, because the place is on fire.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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