Angry farmers break through police barricade at Minister's house
Protesting farmers broke through a police barricade at the home of Minister Christianne van der Wal (Nature and Nitrogen) on Tuesday. They pushed a police car aside so tractors could drive into the street. The situation was so unsafe that police officers could not intervene immediately and had to choose for their own safety, the Gelderland police reported.
The Minister was not home when this happened, but her family was. It was the second consecutive day that farmers protesting against the nitrogen policy showed up at her house.
According to the police, the action “clearly crossed lines. A police car was damaged, and a slurry tank was emptied. The situation was threatening and unacceptable, also towards emergency workers,” the police said on Twitter.
National police commander Willem Woelders called the situation “unacceptable” on Op1. “This is simply intimidating,” said Woelders. Earlier in the day, he said the farmers’ actions were getting harsher. He wants to see whether the police can identify and trace the people involved.
“This is despair in its pure form,” a spokesperson for Farmers Defense Force (FDF) said about the incident at Van der Wal’s house. According to her, FDF was not involved in that action, and the action group also had no role in the other protests against the Cabinet’s nitrogen policy over the past few days.
The desperation among farmers has only increased recently, and the demonstrations are the result of the Cabinet’s policy, the FDF spokesperson said. “After the people who have to deal with the damage caused by gas extraction and the benefits scandal, farmers will be the next group to fall victim to this Cabinet.”
Sjaak van der Tak, chairman of agriculture sector organization LTO Nederland, again called on farmers to take dignified action. “If you take action, do not show up at politicians’ or the Minister's front door. Do it with dignity. Then I am for it,” he said on the RTL program Humberto.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz (Justice) called on farmers to keep within the limits of the law in their protests. Rutte called the farmers’ actions that lead to dangerous situations for road users, officials, and politicians “unacceptable.”
The police placed another security post at the Minister’s home on Monday. Farmers showed up at her house for the first time over two weeks ago, just after she presented the Cabinet’s nitrogen plans.
Reporting by ANP