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Belgian farmers break into Hoogstraten city hall over nitrogen policy

Thomas Lambert

August 31, 2022

Much like the Netherlands and Canada, Belgium is targeting farmers over their supposed nitrogen footprint, and Belgian farmers are not taking it lying down.

Belgian farmers break into city hall to protest nitrogen reduction policy
Belgian farmers break into city hall to protest nitrogen reduction policy

On Monday, Belgian farmers and their supporters rallied in the hundreds if not thousands in front of the city hall in Hoogstraten. Video shows the protesters chanting around burning tires as blaring sirens go off.

Later in the day, the protesters burst through the doors of city hall and were recorded chanting “hoo-eh!” at police officers who’d rushed inside to stop them from proceeding.

According to HLN, the protesters had previously filed complaints over the government’s nitrogen policy and were outraged when they learned that the municipality was going to move forward anyways.

“The numbers do indeed hurt us again,” one farmer said. “Barely five percent of the farmers are for the policy, but it is still that small group that we feel is being followed.” [translated from Dutch]

“We really hate this,” he continued. “Certainly in a city where VITO even has an agricultural and horticultural school. What signal are we sending to those enthusiastic, young farmers with this policy”

“There seems to be little belief in agriculture. We would like to believe that the city wants the best for the farmers, but then that ‘conditionally favourable advice’ is still a shame… A city like Hoogstraten should stand behind the farmers.”

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