Flemish farmers stage nitrogen protest

A group of Flemish farmers set up a spontaneous protest yesterday evening to voice their anger about the newly-imposed nitrogen norms by the Flemish government. 

Protests have been violent in the Netherlands recently, and are now coming to Flanders, though actions are still peaceful here. The farmers assembled at different locations, including at bridges across motorways to attract the attention of the general public. Another protest action was seen in Ravels, where hundreds of official protest letters against the Flemish nitrogen policy were handed over recently. 

About 80 farmers also flocked to Kinrooi (Limburg province) where the new Flemish minister responsible for Agriculture, Jo Brouns (christian democrat), lives. Mr Brouns took his time to meet farmers and to talk to them, but had no real answers to their grievances. He underlined the fact that both parties will have to engage in serious talks to solve the issue. 

Many farmers no longer see a future for their company

Watch the video with footage of farmers listening to minister Jo Brouns (text continues below the video):

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The Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (nationalist) has announced more stringent nitrogen norms for farmers to protect the environment. However, farmers claim these are too strict, threatening their future, and thus food supplies for the people. Some businesses may have to close altogether because of the new norms. Farmers also argue that other parts of society should also do their bit, and that the policies are focusing too much on agriculture alone. 

One of the farmers' banners said "Demir wants the farmers out of the country, a crisis for the average man will follow". Another one mentioned the words of a magician saying "hocus pocus pas, I wish there was a future for the farming industry."  

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