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France: farmers and police set to face off in Paris

Farmers plan to cut off Paris from the rest of the country by blocking its main traffic arteries

Farmers plan to cut off Paris from the rest of the country by blocking its main traffic arteries

The French capital Paris is set to be the site of a showdown on Monday between the government and angry farmers determined to indefinitely "besiege" the city in protest to agricultural policy.

President Emmanuel Macron's administration, however, has vowed to keep farmers from shutting down the city.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered a massive police deployment to "prevent any blockade" by breaking up convoys of trucks and tractors headed for the city, its airports or its central market.

Unionized farmers from Lot-et-Garon region previously announced their intention of cutting off Rungis International Market, which supplies Paris and the surrounding region with much of their fresh produce.

Farmers' unions have said that members based around Paris will attempt to block all major traffic arteries connecting the city to the rest of France from Monday onward.

Farmers still angry despite numerous government concessions

Farmers are protesting numerous government policies including those having to do with fuel tax subsidies, red tape over environmental regulation and what they call unfair EU competition practices that lead to cheap imports.

France's new prime minister, Gabriel Attal, has already made numerous concessions but the farmers say they don't go far enough.

On Friday, Attal promised to phase out the fuel tax and "drastically simplify" paperwork where possible.

On Sunday, the prime minister told farmers in central Indre-et-Loire that it was clear they were in a difficult spot.

"On the one hand we say 'we need quality,' and on the other we say 'we want ever-lower prices.'"

Attal said, "we need our farmers," and told those present it was important to "find short, middle and long-term solutions." He also promised Paris would make "other decisions" to address farmers' concerns over the coming weeks.

For days, French farmers have been using their tractors to hinder traffic across the country as well as to dump massive loads of stinking manure in front of government buildings.

On Wednesday, a 35-yer-old cattle farmer and her 12-year-old daughter were killed when a vehicle ran through a roadblock farmers had set up near Toulouse in southern France. Her husband, who was protesting with her, was seriously injured.

js/lo (AFP, AP)