‘Get lost!’ Angry farmers boo Hollande at agricultural fair in Paris (VIDEO)
Farmers frustrated with the “worst crisis ever” met the officials with cries of “Resign!” and “Get lost!” as the officials were trying to make their way through the exhibition center at Porte de Versailles on Saturday, according to AFP. The video shows the crowd whistling and screaming: “Shame on you, you are lazy” as the President addressed the farmers.
Hollande then chatted with one young farmer for some 20 minutes, to whom he noted, “If youngsters are not getting into agriculture, there will be no renewal, no investments.”
The youngster quickly retorted by saying, “But it is hard for young farmers to start. We should stop buying meat from abroad.”
After that, the President retired to admire the fair’s mascot, a Bazadais cow from southwestern France named Cerise [Cherry].
After Hollande had left, several farmers attacked the Ministry of Agriculture stand, partially destroying it. Mild scuffles broke out as riot police tried to bring the situation under control. Several people were arrested, according to media reports.
“It’s been a year that we’ve been talking and he [Hollande] is not listening. We are all dying on our farms. Who feeds you all? Who is doing that? Well, tomorrow there will be nobody to do it. Nobody,” one French farmer is heard saying in the video.
Over the past several months, French farmers throughout the country have been protesting falling produce prices, which they call “farm-gate,” as well as excessive bureaucracy. The prices of agricultural goods have been falling dramatically recently, devastating many small farming businesses. The farmers claim that Europe’s single market makes it difficult for them to compete with big industry and neighboring countries.
The sanction war between the EU and Russia has also added to the burdens on farmers, who say restrictions on exporting to Russia are destroying their businesses, as the French market is now overwhelmed with domestic produce, driving prices so low that farmers are unable to make a profit.
Months of protests have seen farmers blocking roads with tractors and dumping tons of manure outside government buildings. Moscow still prohibits imports of dairy products from the EU in response to Brussels’ sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.
The agricultural fair is held at the Paris expo Porte de Versailles exhibition center in the French capital every year. It will continue throughout next week, with an estimated 700,000 people expected to attend.