Protests in the Netherlands against “climate laws” that threaten to shut down 30 percent of livestock farms in the country and force farmers to use less fertilizer, bringing down crop yields, are continuing all over the country.
There was a new twist this Friday: angry fishermen have joined a “playful” protest on the island of Texel, declaring it a “free republic.” Texel, the largest island in the “lion’s tail” of northern Holland, could lose half of its already dwindling fleet, and its traditional landscape of harbours and pastures could disappear if the “nitrogen oxide policy” of the Dutch government, which also targets fisheries, is implemented.
Many ordinary citizens joined in the fun, displaying peasant kerchiefs on their bicycles. The popular holiday destination saw farmers distributing informative leaflets and specially printed “passports” warning the population that the local community would change under the climate laws forced upon the population by the UN and the European Union via the complicit national government.
Over the last few days, Dutch farmers have chosen not to organize giant demonstrations like those of last week. Now, using the force and impact of their tractors, they are resorting to multiple, small-scale actions with huge repercussions on transportation, food distribution, and other sectors.
About twenty farmers surrounded the Groningen airport in the north on Thursday. The previous day, a handful of tractors parked alongside a highway near Groenlo while farmers made a large fire that hampered visibility and slowed down traffic.
About forty tractors blocked a waste disposal company in Wijster, a village in the northern province of Drenthe, on Friday morning after having tipped mounds of gravel and debris on the roads leading to the dump.
In Loosbroek, in the Catholic province of North-Brabant, children demonstrated on toy tractors, bearing signs in support of the current protests with slogans such as: “Can I still be a farmer like Dad when I grow up?” Accompanied by their parents, they proudly rode to school on pedal tractors in an event organized by the farmers’ organization LTO, whose spokeswoman said: “We thought it was a good idea to start with the future.”
In other places, dozens of tractors converged around government buildings, industrial plants, distribution centers, and supermarkets. One fresh food distribution center catering for supermarkets around Holten, a village north of Arnhem, got wind of the approach of a column of tractors and blocked the access to its plant, forcing the farmers to halt. The farmers had a conversation with the plant’s director, who told the press the talk was “friendly,” and then left the location.