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No Fear No Favour

Polish Farmers Vow to Paralyze the Country Following Violent Clashes with Police

Tens of thousands of farmers and their supporters issued a stern warning on Wednesday, vowing to bring Poland to a standstill following violent clashes with police outside the country’s parliament in Warsaw. The protesters initially congregated at the prime minister’s office, igniting tires and launching firecrackers as they demanded an end to cheap imports and environmental regulations that they argue are detrimental to their livelihoods.

Subsequently, they marched towards the parliament, where eyewitnesses reported police employing batons, pepper spray, tear gas, and stun grenades against demonstrators. In response, some protesters hurled rocks, cobblestones, and firecrackers at the security forces.

Warsaw police justified their actions, citing “physical aggression against police officers” by certain protesters. Interior Minister Marcin Kierwinski confirmed the detention of 23 provocateurs. Despite the confrontations, Tomasz Obszanski, a leader of the farmers’ union and protest organizer, asserted that the demonstration was initially peaceful until police intervened aggressively as it concluded.

He revealed plans for further action, including a nationwide blockade, after their request to meet with Prime Minister Donald Tusk was rejected. Tusk has subsequently invited farmers’ leaders for talks on Saturday.

The protesters, supported by Poland’s largest labor union, NSZZ Solidarnosc, as well as hunters and forestry workers, burned a symbolic coffin labeled “farmer, lived 20 years, killed by the Green Deal” outside Tusk’s office before proceeding to parliament. Television footage showed tractors being halted on the outskirts of Warsaw, while farmers blockaded roads elsewhere in the country.

Tusk, facing electoral pressures and the need to balance farmers’ grievances with his support for Ukraine, emphasized the disruptions in agricultural markets caused by imports not only from Ukraine but also from Russia and Belarus. He announced plans to request the EU to prohibit imports of Russian and Belarusian agricultural products.

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Author:- Apoorva Arora

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