Traffic on some of the busiest roads in the Netherlands ground to a halt on Wednesday as Dutch farmers ramped up protests against farming taking the rap for climate change.
“Last year you didn’t hear anything about nitrogen, and now suddenly it’s a mortal question,” farmer Micha Bouwer of the Farmers Defence Force told state broadcaster NOS. “These are all people in the city who have two plants on their balcony and say ‘nature is suffering’.”
While livestock farming is among the chief causes of nitrogen pollution, the farmers say they are being disproportionately blamed for climate change, and that their crucial role in food production is being overlooked.
The protest campaign follows Dutch court rulings that the government has an obligation to cut greenhouse emissions more significantly “in order to protect the life and family life of citizens” in the country.
Dutch politicians are reportedly considering imposing new restrictions on food production and farming in an effort to drastically cut nitrogen output, in opposition to concern from farmers and farming groups.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned the protesters on Wednesday that they are entitled to demonstrate but “must follow the rules of the authorities.”
“If you don’t do that, you are in violation and the criminal law applies.”
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