The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government, has declared a state of emergency to prevent farmers from driving their tractors into the city to protest the government’s mandatory fertilizer reduction targets.
The organizers of Thursday’s protest, the Farmers Defense Force (FDF), have said the state of emergency is a way to quash their democratic rights and freedom of assembly.
They have also accused the Dutch government and the EU of imposing rules that would destroy their livelihood.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is forcing farmers to reduce their emissions of nitrogen and ammonia by 50% within the next seven years, in order to comply with EU regulations. The government has also concocted a farm buyout scheme, where approximately 3,000 farms will be forcibly taken over by the state.
The FDF had initially planned to stage a massive demonstration in front of parliament, where the fertilizer emission cap was being debated. However, local authorities issued an emergency order to prevent the protests.