By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
AMSTERDAM (Worthy News) – Dutch authorities and supermarket chains rushed Monday to limit interruptions in food supplies as farmers began blockades near airports and distribution centers to protest against the government’s nitrogen plans.
Farmers on tractors threatened to block traffic to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Eindhoven Airport, and Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Police also watched as farmers created traffic blockades and targeted food distribution centers and reportedly the Port of Rotterdam.
Several protestors were detained, and riot police clashed with farmers in the northern town of Heerenveen. The director of the Dutch supermarket sector’s trade group warned Monday that the “Consequences of blockades are already noticeable today.”
Marc Jansen spoke on Dutch NOS Radio 1 as reports emerged of chains lacking fresh food produce. “Fresh products, bread, vegetables, fruit, people will have to miss out on that today because it would normally be delivered tonight, and that did not happen,” Jansen warned.
Elsewhere police rushed to the sea lock at IJmuiden in North Holland province, where fishermen blocked what is the world’s second-largest lock. Facing government-imposed limitations on their work as well, fishermen said they support the farmers’ protests.
Monday’s actions come after one of the largest farmers’ protests in years, followed by sometimes violent demonstrations in several areas of the country.
Last week, farmers burned haystacks and protested in front of government and public buildings with cows, manure, and slurry after politicians voted to slash nitrogen emissions. But the protests turned violent when farmers clashed with police outside the home of Christianne van der Wal, the Dutch minister overseeing reforms to curb pollution.
Critics say the government plan on reducing what it calls “damaging pollutants” could force farmers to cut their livestock herds or stop working altogether.
At least six farmers have already committed suicide due to the policy, according to legislators familiar with the situation.
Dutch Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte says, “the emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia, which livestock produce, must be drastically cut back to protect nature areas.”
The designated areas are part of a network of protected habitats for what climate activists say are “endangered plants and wildlife” stretching across the European Union.
Farmers are furious, saying on social media that they will bring the Netherlands to a standstill.
They claim the nitrogen policy threatens the Dutch agriculture sector, including centuries-old farms.
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