Farmers blocking Berlin roads to protest government policies

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of tractors are heading into Berlin as farmers protest the German government’s agricultural policies.

Police say some 5,000 tractors and 10,000 farmers are expected for Tuesday’s protest against planned environmental protection regulations they say are overly restrictive.

Demonstrators plan to block wide areas of the capital with a slow-moving convoy of the tractors, which were gathering at the landmark Brandenburg Gate.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet in September decided on a series of proposals including tighter restrictions on the use of pesticides and herbicides to protect insects, and on fertilizers to protect groundwater.

Farmers say the government should work with them and conservation groups to find ways to protect the environment while preserving the competitiveness of farms.

Merkel’s invited leaders of the movement to talks at the start of December.