Minister’s family felt threatened by farmers protesting at her home
Farmers took their tractors to Minister Christianne van der Wal’s home on Friday night in Hierden to protest against the government’s new nitrogen policy. The minister of Nature and Nitrogen had a conversation barefoot on her driveway with the farmers, but eventually went back inside, saying she felt threatened, according to AD.
The protest was a response to the “directive objectives” Van der Wal sent to the Tweede Kamer on Friday, which outlined a plan to cut nitrogen emissions per region. It included plans to have farmers significantly cut their emissions through buyouts and livestock reduction.
As five police cars looked on, angry farmers presented Van der Wal with a letter “on behalf of all farmers in the Netherlands” that dismissed her “effective immediately in view of the situation which had arisen.” After this, the minister ended the conversation.
"I'm going in now," she said. “I've had a good conversation, heard you, received this, but now I'm going inside. My children are sitting there, shaking, and now enough is enough. I think it's getting threatening now.”
The farmers then dumped a large bale of hay in front of the minister’s house before leaving around 10:15 p.m., AD reports. The protesters seem to be part of the Vol Gas! group, who called her letter of objectives a “death knell for the entire sector.”
The protest was condemned by MPs and farmer’s association LTO, who said the demonstrators should not have violated the minister’s privacy by appearing at her home. “I understand the anger, but they should not do this,” chairman Sjaak van der Tak told AD. "This is not dignified and not appropriate."
GroenLinks party leader called the protest “unacceptable” on Twitter, while Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag urged protesters to “stay away from people’s homes!” Party for the Animals Party Leader Esther Ouwehand also tweeted: “Anger is no excuse. [This is] threatening to whoever it happens to, undermining democracy.”
Onacceptabel! Dit is intimidatie. Laat politici thuis met rust. Debat voer je op basis van argumenten, niet op deze manier. Ik snap dat het stikstofbesluit voor veel boeren enorme consequenties heeft, maar dit gaat veel te ver.https://t.co/XHb0rnitJa— Jesse Klaver (@jesseklaver) June 10, 2022
D66 party chairman Jan Paternotte and Caroline van der Plas of the BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) also joined in the criticism of the protesters’ actions. “Start the conversation, go to the Malieveld or demonstrate wherever you want. But leave our minister and her family alone at home!” Patternotte tweeted.