Protesting farmers in France start lifting roadblocks as standoff eases

France's agriculture minister said Friday that the worst of a crisis that saw farmers block roads nationwide for days was over, as protesters began lifting roadblocks following government promises of cash and eased regulation.

In some of the angriest protests that have spread across Europe, French farmers have been out in force for more than a week, using tractors to block key roads into Paris and other major highways nationwide.

The litany of farmers' complaints is long, ranging from burdensome environmental rules to cheap imports of produce from outside the EU such as Ukraine, but focus on the difficulty of making ends meet in the modern world.

On Thursday, two main farming unions announced the suspension of the action, urging the protesters to take their tractors off the streets, after Prime Minister Gabriel Attal promised cash, eased regulations and protection against unfair competition.

Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau said Friday that the worst of the crisis was "pretty much behind us".

"But the issues that we have to deal with and that have emerged in this crisis are still ahead of us," he told CNews television.

Authorities said Thursday evening that many roadblocks across the country were being lifted or eased and farmers continued to move tractors off the streets on Friday, even though some blockades remained in place.

Tractors blocking the A1 motorway near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport were heading back, farmers said.

'Strong mobilisation'

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Angry farmers park tractors in Brussels as EU summit opens
Police arrest dozens of farmers as tractor convoy closes in on Paris
France moves to block EU-Mercosur deal as farmers continue protest