Highways towards Antwerp closed at the border due to farmers’ actions

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Omroep Brabant / Noël van Hooft
Farmers on the A67

NOS Newstoday, 07:11Amended today, 1:53 PM

Various border crossings between the Netherlands and Belgium have been closed due to farmers’ protests. This concerns the border crossing of the A67 at Eersel and the A4 at Markiezaat, https://twitter.com/ANWBverkeer/status/1753288934199624031. The border crossing of the A16 near Hazeldonk is also closed towards Belgium, but the road is largely open again towards the Netherlands.

The farmers have been demonstrating on the Belgian side of the border since late last night. Rijkswaterstaat advises road users who have to go to Belgium to postpone their trip if possible. Otherwise, they can detour via Limburg on the A2 between Maastricht and Liège, the A76 between Stein and Maasmechelen and the Western Scheldt tunnel, the N62.

Road users may suffer from quite a bit of extra travel time, the ANWB told the ANP news agency. “But it is never busy during the Friday morning rush hour. It can be very annoying, especially for the logistics sectors.”

NOS
Here are the farmers’ protests

Belgian farmers are mainly participating in the protests. They have been taking action for days because they say their work is no longer profitable. They point to rising production costs, while sales prices remain the same. They also want to get rid of strict European environmental regulations.

“We are not here for fun, we are here because we want to stand up for our rights,” says one of the activists in the NOS Radio 1 News. It is on the highway across the border near Eindhoven. According to him, the farmers demonstrate at the border crossing because this is a strategic location, “and the nitrogen problem mainly occurs in Belgium and the Netherlands”.

He says he finds it annoying that road users are inconvenienced by the blockage, “but we have been inconvenienced for three years, and no one is watching or listening to us.” “Our permits are not being extended, we are not getting legal certainty for the companies, the banks do not want to go along with the financing. So we are completely blocked with our companies and we don’t know which way to go.”

Belgian supermarkets warn that the protests could lead to empty shelves. The farmers also block distribution centers of ALDI, Lidl and Colruyt with their tractors.

This is what the farmers say this morning:

Border crossings closed due to farmer protests

The blockade of the highways towards Antwerp started late last night. More than fifty tractors drove onto the highway across the border at Eersel. The demonstrators lit fires and called for the blockade to continue for several days. Dutch farmers drove from Bergeijk to the border and joined the action to support their Belgian colleagues. According to the initiator, there were about 30 to 35 Dutch people there last night.

Farmers’ actions were also held in various places in the Netherlands last night. For example, there were about fifteen tractors on Dam Square in Amsterdam. Dozens of farmers gathered at the Gelderland provincial government building in Arnhem. Further on on the Market in the center there were about 120 agricultural vehicles. Farmers had also gathered in Woerden and Groningen.

View the actions that started last night here:

Farmers block border crossings, demonstrations in cities

In response to the protests at the border, outgoing Justice Minister Yesilgöz said this morning that everyone is free to demonstrate, but she appealed not to do so “in places where you endanger yourself and others.”

When asked whether there is any intervention and whether she rejects the blockades, she said that this is always a local decision by the mayor, together with the judiciary and the police. “So that we do not have to judge from a distance from The Hague.”

The Dutch action group Farmers Defense Force (FDF) hopes that the willingness to take action among farmers will increase, reports the ANP news agency. FDF wants to block border crossings throughout the country this weekend, possibly also in the north and east of the Netherlands.


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Highways Antwerp closed border due farmers actions

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