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VIDEO: Between fights, insults and police, Macron opens an agricultural fair in Paris


After more than four hours delay and amid boos, insults and fights, the French President, Emmanuel Macron opened the agricultural fair in Paris on Saturday. Key event for a dissatisfied sector that staged large demonstrations in January.

The Agricultural Fair, an annual fair often attended by French presidents, is taking place in the capital until March 3rd and is in a tense context, after farmers blocked several highways in the country at the end of January.

Macron’s arrival at the gathering at around 8:00 a.m. (local time) coincided with scenes of violence and confusion, with dozens of protesters trying to force bars to enter before opening time, leading to clashes with security forces.

The president was protected by dozens of riot police, who regularly pushed demonstrators away from him. Some of them called him a “liar,” shouted “get out” and called on him to resign.

The hall was inaugurated by Macron four and a half hours late compared to the original program. But despite the chaotic scenes, he managed to hold informal talks with farmers, some of whom were members of the country’s three largest agricultural unions.

“I always prefer dialogue rather than confrontation (…) Confrontation doesn’t help,” said the 46-year-old president, who was re-elected in 2022 for a second five-year term against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Macron promised, among other things, to propose the introduction of “minimum prices” to “protect agricultural incomes” as part of a new law intended to regulate relations between the various players in the food industry. These “floor prices” are based on the production cost indicators of each sector (poultry, dairy products, beef …).

In November, French consumer minister Olivia Grégoire spoke out against a similar measure passed and rejected in parliament, claiming it reminded her of “Cuba or the Soviet Union”. The president also reiterated his desire to prevent a pesticide from being banned in France before the rest of the European Union in order to avoid distortions of competition.

After the agricultural protests that shook the country at the end of January, Macron had already announced a series of measures. This included greater control over the origin of products and the refusal to sign the trade agreement between the European Union and the South American Mercosur bloc.

However, on the first day of the agricultural fair, he showed that he rejected the idea that international trade would harm local agriculture. The protests of the last few weeks also affected other European countries such as Germany, Poland, Romania, Belgium, Italy and Spain.


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