France: 18 Arrested as Farmers Blockade Vegetable Market

    France: 18 Arrested as Farmers Blockade Vegetable Market
    Photo: Kiran Ridley/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • French police on Wednesday arrested 18 people for "interfering with traffic" after protesting farmers blocked the Rungis wholesale food market near Paris — a major supply point for the 12M residents of the French capital region.

    • An additional 200 to 300 tractors coming from the southwest were blocked by police along the A6 highway leading to Rungis, with police checkpoints deployed around the market.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    These protesters have genuine grievances that must be tackled, but the growing threat of violence is also a cause for worry. French farmers mean it much more than their peers in other countries when they warn of "direct action," and the size of the protests this time around is ominous. This is despite the government making the right promises, including protections against imports.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The government is not meeting the farmers' needs, this protest enjoys widespread grassroots support — 89% according to one estimate — even from outside the farming circle. The farmers' call to save the rural way of life is resonating with a wide section of French society. Even 81% of the ruling party supports this movement, showing popular disdain for the new prime minister and his policies.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 5% chance that Emmanuel Macron will cease being President of France before 2027, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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