The bold sky blue letters on the door of the European Parliament invite people to vote in the June elections – “Use your voiceOr in Portuguese “Use your voice” – it is difficult to read this Thursday. Swallowed by billowing smoke in Brussels, it is turning into one of the main stages of a protest that is blocking roads across the European Union – from Portugal to Croatia.
This time, farmers chose another form of civic engagement to make their voice heard: hundreds of workers, aboard some 1,300 tractors, gathered in Brussels to demonstrate against environmental rules, low prices (and accompanying wages), lack of support measures and malnutrition. working conditions.
The tension between the two sides of the conflict can be seen in the scene of the European Union's “capital”: there are fires in the city, barricades wrapped in bundles of straw, statues toppled, plumes of black smoke rising from burning tires, and protesters throwing stones. Stones and eggs in Luxembourg Square. If the message wasn't clear enough, posters condemned the main recipient: “Ursula [von der Leyen]we are here”.
History is not innocent. The protests began last week but escalated on the day of the European Council meeting. European proposals to limit agricultural imports from Ukraine and relax some environmental rules were not enough to stop the demonstrations. The farmers hope that their demands will be discussed at the leaders' conference on Thursday.
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