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French farmers block Champs-Elysees in protest at labor reforms

French farmers have blocked the famous Champs-Elysees Avenue in the French capital in protest at the government’s labor reforms.

Protesters poured hay along the busy avenue to stop morning traffic from passing on Friday in protest at French President Emanuel Macron’s reforms.

Demonstrators brandished placards reading, “Macron is killing farmers.” Dozens of armed police were deployed to the scene and put up metal barriers to contain the protest.

Nationwide rallies had been held against the reforms on Thursday.

To appease the farmers, French Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot came to speak to them and hear their complaints, while a farmers’ delegation was received at the presidential Elysee Palace.

The farmers are angry that Macron’s government banned a controversial pesticide called glyphosate, among other things. Glyphosate is thought to be carcinogenic.

Demonstrators hold a banner depicting French President Emmanuel Macron, and reading, “Let’s erase that smile.” (Photo by AFP)

Last year, French farmers blocked roads and highways in the country’s northwest, demanding the government to stop dropping produce prices. Back then, farmers also dumped hay and tires on a highway in Quimperle setting the barricade alight.

French farmers have been staging protests for years, saying their income does not cover the costs of production.

The French government has in the past offered financial support to the agricultural sector. French farmers, however, believe the government should do more than offer financial support and draw up policies to help pull them out of dire straits. Farmers prefer an increase in the prices of agricultural produce.

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