Farmers set bonfires in Brussels to protest EU decision to send €50 billion to Ukraine

On Thursday, hundreds of farmers from across the continent descended upon Brussels to protest a summit attended by leaders of the European Union that was set to focus on additional Ukraine aid.

They ultimately agreed on a 50 billion euro aid package.

Tractors filled the streets and smoke billowed up from a square outside the EU's headquarters as farmers and their supporters called for an upheaval of the multinational political and economic union's agricultural policies, which they argue have made it nearly impossible for them to continue making a living.

While the ensuing demonstrations remained mostly peaceful, there were instances of attendees setting bonfires, burning hay bales, throwing eggs and flaming manure, and lighting firecrackers.

According to the Associated Press, farmers were successful in ensuring that leaders at the summit, which was initially focused on providing more aid to Ukraine, addressed their concerns.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, whose nation currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, called on leaders from across Europe to sit down and actually listen to the concerns being raised.

"Don't demonize the farmers," he said. "Don't send the army on them. But talk to them."

As NBC reports, he told his fellow heads of state that they "need to make sure that [farmers] can get the right price for the high quality products that they provide," adding, "we also need to make sure that the administrative burden that they have remains reasonable."

The European Commission has announced plans to help farmers, however it remains to be seen whether their promises will be kept.

According to Euronews, protestors began pouring into the Belgian capital on Wednesday night, with some writing "Ursula, we are here!" on the motorway between Brussels and Paris, referring to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Police could be seen using a water cannon against the protesters in shocking footage which reporter Eva Vlaardingerbroek likened to a "totalitarian regime."




 

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