Monday 18, December
Hundreds of tractors arrive in Berlin for massive farmer protest
A video shared on Instagram is filmed from the cabin of the first tractor to arrive at the Brandenburg Gate in the winter darkness of Monday morning. With Journey’s 1981 song Don’t Stop Believing’ playing from the vehicle’s stereo, the tractor turns to park and reveals the lights of hundreds of agricultural vehicles following the lead tractor into central Berlin. The farmers have arrived.
The reason for this unusual sight is a rally set for 11am on Monday morning. 3,000 farmers are assembling in the city in protest a series of measures introduced by Germany’s ruling “traffic-light” coalition (SPD, the FDP, and the Greens) who are set to abolish some financial policies from which German farmers have previously benefited, namely, a diesel subsidy and tax exemption for agricultural vehicles (hence all the tractors). This latter policy alone is estimated to cost the government €480 million every year.
The tractors have been arriving all morning and traffic may be significantly disrupted across the city until around 15:00. The farmers are demanding that the government completely withdraw plans to scrap the financial policies, threatening an intensification of resistance from January if some solution is not found.