French Farmers Protests and Paris Blockade

Almost 80 Farmers Arrested

Table of Contents

News Story

The recent farmers' protests in France have been sparked by a variety of grievances, including concerns about low wages, unfair foreign competition, and the impact of European Union (EU) agricultural policies.

The farmers are demanding urgent action on low farmgate prices, green regulation, and free-trade policies. They are also seeking concessions from the government to combat rising fuel costs and inadequate payment for their products by large supermarket chains. The protests have led to significant disruptions, with farmers blocking highways, dumping produce, and even attempting to enter Paris with tractors.

The government has made some assurances, such as higher payouts under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, but many farmers feel that these measures are not sufficient and are demanding more immediate solutions to their concerns.

The protests have also spread to other European countries, including Belgium, and there are concerns that the largely peaceful movement could turn violent if the grievances are not addressed. The farmers' unions are putting pressure on the government to find rapid solutions to the crisis.


"French farmers vow Paris 'siege' as tractor protest converges on capital"

Comprehension Questions

  1. What is the main reason for the increased security around the RIS International Market in Paris?
  2. What is the farmers' union calling for in their protest?
  3. How many police officers are being deployed to prevent disruptions in the city?
  4. What specific measures have been announced by the French Prime Minister to address the farmers' concerns?
  5. What is the government considering as an additional measure against unfair competition in agriculture?


"Critical to the Paris Region's economy, police beef up security around the RIS International Market. Farmers' unions had called on protesters to target the market on Monday, marking the beginning of what they call an indefinite Siege on the capital. After an emergency meeting, the French interior minister said 15,000 police officers would be deployed to prevent disruptions.

  • beef up security
  • to call on sb. to do sth.
  • to mark the beginning of sth.
  • to have/hold an emergency meeting
  • an indefinite siege
  • interior minister
  • to deploy police officers
  • to prevent disruption(s)

We don't intend to allow government buildings, tax collection buildings, or grocery stores to be damaged, or trucks transporting foreign produce to be stopped. But, obviously, law enforcement, riot police, and military police have not been instructed to intervene on roadblocks, but instead to accompany and to secure those roadblocks.

  • tax collection
  • to transport foreign produce
  • law enforcement, to enforce the law
  • riot police
  • military police
  • to instruct sb. to intervene
  • roadblock(s)

The farmers are setting up eight choke points on highways leading into Paris. Police are under orders to prevent any incursion into the city itself and disruption to airports.

  • to set up sth. / to set sth. up
  • choke points
  • to be under orders to do sth.
  • an incursion into (location)
  • the city itself
  • a disruption to airports

Monday's action steps up the farmers' pressure campaign as they demand better pay and drastic changes to agricultural policies. French Prime Minister Gabrielle Atal announced a series of measures aimed at calming the anger on Friday, including the scrapping of a plan to gradually reduce tax breaks on agricultural diesel.

  • to step up pressure
  • a pressure campaign
  • drastic changes
  • a series of measures
  • to scrap a plan, the scrapping of a plan
  • tax breaks
  • to reduce tax break
  • a plan to do sth. gradually

Farmers, though, say it doesn't go far enough. There are a lot of issues that have not been addressed, and other issues remain very vague. It's like putting a band-aid on a wooden leg, Atal says. The government is considering additional measures against what he called unfair competition from countries with different production rules. Roadblock protests are also expected further south in the city of Leon on Monday."

  • to not go far enough
  • to address an issue
  • to be/remain vague
  • to consider measures
  • additional measures
  • (un)fair competition
  • production rules

Business English Discussion Questions

  1. How do you think the increased security around the International Market could impact the logistics industry in the Paris Region?
  2. In what ways could the farmers' demands for better pay and changes to agricultural policies affect the commercial real estate market for warehouses and distribution centers?
  3. If similar protests were to occur in Spain, what potential challenges might Spanish developers of warehouses and distribution centers face as a result?
  4. How could the government's additional measures against unfair competition in agriculture impact the logistics assets being developed for clients in the commercial real estate industry?

Sample answer: "The farmers' demands could lead to disruptions in the transportation of goods, which might affect the efficiency and profitability of warehouses and distribution centers. This, in turn, could have implications for the commercial real estate market for such logistics assets. For example, developers and investors might need to consider the potential risks associated with protests and disruptions when planning or investing in logistics projects."


  1. Almost 80 farmers arrested as protests blockade key food market, close in on Paris
  2. French farmers block highways to step up pressure on government
  3. Protests by farmers block highways to Paris and elsewhere in France
  4. France farmers protests see 79 arrested as tractors snarl Paris traffic