Rubber bullets and water cannons were deployed against hundreds of European farmers protesting outside the EU Parliament building in Brussels on Thursday. The farmers threw eggs, set off fireworks, and started fires near the building while demanding that European leaders stop punishing them with more taxes and rising costs imposed to finance a so-called 'green agenda.'
The protests coincide with a Thursday summit of EU leaders, with the farmers calling on them to scrap agricultural and environmental regulations implemented by leadership in Brussels.
According to reports, farmers have broken through the barricades outside of Parliament and also ignited smoke bombs.
Breaking: Farmer protests escalate at EU Parliament with barricades breached and fires ignited. pic.twitter.com/NeIzCaVEqL— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 1, 2024
"We want to stop these crazy laws that come every single day from the European Commission," said Jose Maria Castilla, a farmer in Brussels representing the Spanish farmers' union, Asaja.
The protests come as EU leaders met to discuss a $50 billion aid package for Ukraine. Belgian PM Alexander De Croo said that the farmers' concerns would be added to the summit's agenda, saying "It is important that we listen to them," adding "They face gigantic challenges," the Washington Post reports.
The growing unrest over Europe's punishment of farmers has also been seen in Italy, Portugal, France, Greece and Germany, as farmers express outrage over green regulations and cheap imports.
Farmer protests in Brussels pic.twitter.com/BR4dhdg9QK— Russian Market (@runews) February 1, 2024
🚨🇧🇪BREAKING: FARMERS TARGET EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN BRUSSELS— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) February 1, 2024
As anger sweeps through farming communities in Europe, protesters in Belgium have begun to build barricades and start fires outside the EU parliament.
They’re protesting new environmental regulations they call… https://t.co/nqmrV9k5OS pic.twitter.com/vWSgWVJyBr
Well, they got 50 billion reasons to be angry. pic.twitter.com/3qsA968FrK— CaptainKhan (@iamtabish_khan) February 1, 2024