Farmers in Brussels protest EU policies and cheap Ukraine imports, blocking city streets

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Farmers in Brussels engaged in violent protests by throwing beets, spraying manure at police, and setting hay on fire as they blocked off streets near the EU headquarters. The protests were in response to perceived red tape, unfair trading practices, environmental regulations, and cheap imports from Ukraine. Despite efforts to ease tensions, clashes with the police ensued, resulting in injuries to several individuals.
The government criticized the farmers for the violence that occurred, including incidents of throwing e-bikes off bridges and setting fires at a subway station entry. The protests have had a significant impact on politics, leading to concessions from EU and national authorities on farming regulations and environmental rules.
Proposals to weaken or cut rules in areas like crop rotation and soil protection were provisionally approved by EU member states, with exemptions granted to small farmers who make up the majority of the workforce. The EU parliament is set to make a decision on these proposals in late April.
Critics, including environmentalists and climate activists, argue that giving in to farmer demands may have long-term detrimental effects on the continent’s ability to combat climate change. They warn that short-term concessions could have negative consequences in the future when the impacts of climate change become more severe.

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