Poland Has Most Violent Farmers Protest Yet

What Happened:

The European Union has seen a lot of unrest from farmers angry about climate and economic policies that have been damaging their way of life. EU lawmakers have been working to try and rework some of the policies to be “farmer friendly” by talking to agricultural unions and holding off on enforcement, but it is still not enough.

There is broader concern across the EU as farmers can’t sell their own produce due to deals with Ukraine allowing their products to be sold in the European market. This has led to concerns over farmers livelihoods, which was followed by mass protests.

Poland witnessed its most violent protest on Wednesday, as protestors threw rocks at police and charged police barricades, injuring several officers.

The Details:

Europe has been no stranger to agricultural protests. Many of the nations in the EU had to repeal policies in place to reduce pesticides and emissions. Even with the repeals, farmers still feel like their lives are not improving.

Polish protests turned violent quickly, as no progress has been made on stopping the sale of Ukrainian grain in the EU. Ukraine typically sold to the African market before the Russian invasion, but with their shipping being targeted, European leaders decided to open their markets to help secure the Ukrainian economy.

This disrupted the EU market and made European farmers prices to high to compete with the low priced and abundant Ukrainian grain. Border states like Poland have farmers that have threatened to block roadways to prevent transports from getting into the country.

The deputy minister of agriculture, Michal Kolodziejczak said he doesn’t believe that the violence is coming from “real, normal farmers.” He expresses the need to separate farmers from “provocateurs and troublemakers.” He declined to comment on who was behind the violence.

Police used tear gas to detain and control the crowds while officers received medical attention. Farmers had assistance from miners, foresters, hunters, and other interest groups. They blew horns, fired firecrackers, and sparked smoke bombs at police and in the air.

The protestors refuse to stop until their government backs out of the EU’s Green Deal. So far, there has not been a mention of completely backing out of the deal, but lawmakers are hopeful of an agricultural rework. The relatively new government under Donald Tusk is pro-EU and wants to support Ukraine in any way they can, which will likely lead to further unrest. Even so, Tusk has stated that the farmer’s demands are justified and that he plans to amend certain policies in a proposal he will send to the EU.

What’s Next:

At the time of this article, over half of the 27-member states had experienced farmer protests. Many of the countries are backing down some of their policies, but some lawmakers want to hold firm due to climate concerns.

This concern has spilled over into concern over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with analysts wondering if Europe is growing tired of supporting Ukraine. The governments themselves have promised support, but citizen outcry has led to political action. Europe’s leaders are in a spot where they must balance the concerns of their country with the concerns of Ukraine.

There are concerns that the U.S. may experience similar protests if American politics rush a green deal that puts “green” costs solely on the farmers backs. European leaders have had to engage in discussions “after the fact” with farmers to find better options, and there are concerns that U.S. lawmakers may make the same mistakes. Congress currently has a farm bill that has been labeled “the greenest farm bill on record,” which some analysts fear will go similarly to the EU’s Green Deal.

Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.

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