Dutch farmers protest green regulations

Thousands of farmers demonstrated in The Hague on Wednesday against new environmental regulations aimed at cutting nitrogen emissions. The farmers blocked roads with their tractors and set off fireworks. But violent actions will get them nowhere, commentators say.

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De Telegraaf (NL) /

Violence undermines democracy

During the partly violent demonstrations farmers also carried a coffin with the name of Green politician Jesse Klaver written on it. This is where De Telegraaf's sympathy for the protests ends:

“The protesting farmers run the risk of losing support for their actions. What began as genuine and sympathetic outcry so as not to always be the victims of green political ambitions degenerated into violence and death threats. ... It's not funny at all to make allusions to a politician dying just because you don't like his convictions. This behaviour not only undermines support for the farmers' actions, it also destroys the very foundations of our democracy.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Far tougher measures are necessary

In the end the farmers will have to swallow the bitter pill, NRC Handelsblad believes:

“The worst thing about this nitrogen problem is that even lax measures are proving hard to sell despite the fact that far tougher ones are needed. As every party-goer knows, you can drive away yesterday's hangover with a cold beer today, but in the end you still pay the price. ... However, there are other reasons why the farmers are angry. They're also protesting against the banks and the feed companies, which forced new stalls and larger livestock numbers on them. And against the supermarket chains, which want to sell their dairy and meat products for giveaway prices.”