Tuesday 9, January
The farmers are back: Berlin braces for a week of agricultural protest
When they last visited the capital in mid-December, the German farmers currently protesting the federal government’s plans to scrap agricultural subsidies clogged up the streets with tractors and dumped steaming piles of manure on Berlin streets. Now, they’re back. Hundreds of angry protesters arrived in the capital yesterday, parking their vehicles along the famous stretch of the Straße des 17. Juni, leading up to the Brandenburg Gate.
These agricultural vehicles are expected to stay at least until Monday 15, when the week of action called for by the German Farmers’ Association will culminate in a demonstration of 10,000 registered participants. Thousands of tractors are expected to join the protest, causing major traffic disruptions across the city.
Behind all these protests is the federal government’s decision to opt for a policy of austerity which will affect farmers by phasing out a subsidy for agricultural diesel, completely removing the measure by 2026. This comes after existing plans to scrap tax breaks on agricultural vehicles, which the farm workers have already been strongly resisting. Consumers in Berlin might even see some consequences too, with warnings that an ongoing blockade of a logistics centre outside Berlin could lead to empty supermarket shelves on Tuesday.