Tractors Return to Brussels: “Down with Von Der Leyen”

On the eve of the European elections to be held from June 6 to 9, 2024, tractors, the symbol of European farmers’ protests, will again march through Brussels, Belgium, the European “capital.”

Hundreds of farmers, belonging to the most radical labor unions, have gathered under the leadership of the Dutch Farmers’ Defense Force association and with the support of various nationalist European leaders. The center of the event was Heysel, home to the Belgian Royal House and the Atomium, the city’s symbolic monument created for the 1958 World Fair, and from here the caravan moved towards the European Quarter, home to the headquarters of the European Commission and the EU Parliament. The groups organizing the rally expected about 5000 demonstrators, but according to Brussels police, the actual participant counts were apparently 1200 with 500 tractors, which is still a significant number.

The message brought by the farmers was strictly political: “Von der Leyen, go home” and “no to the Green Deal,” accompanied by frequent firecracker throwing at the demonstration, which was in any case peaceful and without clashes with law enforcement. “Ursula and her well-connected friends have tried in every way to enslave us, but we are not giving up, the future of Europe has been decided, we must give a strong signal, we want policies that are not about jackets and ties, but about hands dirty from work,” the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero quoted Italian farmers’ leader Salvatore Fais, who spoke from the protest stage, adding: “They accused us of polluting the earth, your skies, your cities, we were told to produce less, we were imposed unfair competition without limits, we were forced to be part of Europe, but not the one that should guarantee a fair income in all states, but instead we were pitted against each other.”