Dutch authorities urged farmers on Wednesday to refrain from creating unsafe conditions for everybody else after farmers started blocking highways with manure piles and burning hay.
“Last night, unsafe situations were created by a number of farmers in various places in the east of the Netherlands, among other places. We understand that they want to send a message and respect that they are voicing the concerns they have,” several police agencies and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management said in a news release.
“They have that right, just like everyone else,” the agencies said. “But deliberately setting fire to straw bales, dumping waste, including materials containing asbestos, and spreading manure, they cause damage and unsafe (traffic) situations.”
Netherlands… Farmers are blocking multiple freeways with rubbish and manure…
RESIST 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/x6gDoLEYYH
— Pelham (@Resist_05) July 27, 2022
“The police are investigating who is responsible for this,” the news release stated.
Earlier Wednesday morning, farmers set up dozens of blockades on the A1, A12, A28, A30, A35 and A50 highways.
The farmers caused an accident on one of the blockaded highways Wednesday. Near the A32 at Meppel-Noord, a car struck beams and debris left by the farmers on the highway. Thus far, no one has been injured as a result of the accident, according to NOS.
The Central Netherlands Police said that finding who is responsible for the dumping would be “difficult,” NOS reported.
The farmers have created an “undesirable” situation, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management said, according to the public broadcaster.
“This can lead to very dangerous situations,” a spokesperson for the agency told NOS. “Not just burning hay bales, but everything on the road that drivers have to swerve for.”
Dutch farmers are not joking. Blocks in progress with sand, waste, hay bales and manure on highways A1 in Bathmen, A12 in Bunnik, A30 in Ede, A35 in Hengelo and A50 in Apeldoorn. Actions in progress other areas of the Netherlands. Many farmers are heading to Den Haag. pic.twitter.com/l2LStawdq5
— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) July 27, 2022
Public response to the disruptions has been mixed, according to the NOS. “Some raise their thumbs. You can see sympathy for the actions, but others shake their heads because it does cause a lot of delay,” a reporter for RTV Oost said, NOS reported.
“Protesting is a fundamental right and as long as it stays within the limits of the law, a lot is possible,” Dutch authorities said in their joint statement. “Municipalities, provinces and the cabinet are also discussing this with farmers.”
“But actions such as last night seriously endanger road safety and can lead to life-threatening situations for road users. It can cause accidents and fires, and the latter can have far-reaching consequences, especially with this drought, and it also hinders the emergency services from performing their task.”
The Wednesday disruptions were part of month-long protests by farmers in the Netherlands who were protesting the country’s plan to slash nitrogen and ammonia emissions, which could put many farmers out of business.
On Tuesday, independent mediator Johan Remkes — appointed by the Dutch government to parley with the farmers — invited stakeholders from the agricultural industry for talks regarding the emissions plan.
“I have great appreciation for the Dutch agricultural sector,” Remkes said. “Government and politics have not always been the parties farmers could rely on.”
“I see the conversations as a turning point: coming out of the impasse together,” the mediator said. “The cabinet has assured me that there is scope and joint solutions are possible.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.