Pallet fire and rain of arrests: more than a hundred farmers demonstrated Tuesday in front of the Council of State to protest against the requirement to tighten the rules on the distances for spraying pesticides, and dozens were questioned, rekindling the anger of the operators.
Of the 73 people arrested, including two organizers of the demonstration, 68 were taken into custody, we learned from a source close to the case.
They were taken into police custody for “participating in a gathering” and two were also taken into custody for “organizing an undeclared demonstration,” said the Paris prosecutor’s office, confirming the number of police custody.
“Tonight, there are still at least 25 people in custody. This is not acceptable. We are calling for actions to block roads everywhere in the 12 departments of the Grand Bassin in Paris to demand their release,” declared to AFP Damien Greffin, president of the FNSEA for this large zone which goes from the North to the south of the Ile-de-France.
“Certainly, we had not declared this gathering, but we did not commit any degradation. We explained that we were going to leave around 8:30 am when we were surrounded and then arrested, + to verify [les] identities + “, he explained.
Denouncing a “Republic of judges”, the farmers had arrived before dawn and had set fire to wooden pallets in front of the gates of the highest administrative court.
“We knew the government and the laws. We now know the Council of State which, ultimately for us, becomes the second government of France since it has systematically sanctioned a certain number of texts for a few months”, declared Damien Greffin, saying “the incomprehension” of the farmers vis-a-vis “inapplicable decisions” which “push back the French agriculture”.
– “Pression” –
At the end of July, the Council of State asked the government to strengthen within six months the regulations governing the spreading of pesticides “to better protect the population”.
After several months of controversy, the government had set in December 2019 the minimum distances to be observed between the areas where phytosanitary products are spread and homes: five meters for so-called low crops such as vegetables and cereals, and ten meters for crops. tall, fruit trees or vines.
The decree also provided for exemptions further reducing these distances, within the framework of “departmental commitment charters” proposed by users of phytosanitary products and validated by the prefects after having been submitted to public consultation.
It is these minimum distances that have been contested by associations, municipalities or organic farmers. The Council of State estimated that the minimum spreading distances set at five meters for products whose toxicity is only suspected were “insufficient” and gave the government until the end of January to review its copy.
As the deadline draws near, farmers opposed to these measures are increasingly worried, fearing significant production losses if distances were extended. They also question the implementation of these provisions.
“When you take your tractor to work your field, you will have to go and warn your local residents, your neighbors. tractor to go into the fields! (…). It’s laughable, ”Damien Greffin was carried away.
Reached by AFP, the secretary general of the FNSEA, Jérôme Despey, called in the afternoon to “find appeasement”, indicating that the union was working with the government on this issue of spreading distances, asking from the outset, the liberation of the farmers arrested.
For its part, the Générations Futures association condemned in a press release an “attempt to pressure the courts and the government” on the part of the FNSEA.
On Twitter, the spokesperson for the ecological presidential candidate Yannick Jadot, Delphine Batho, blasted “a + punch operation + against the highest administrative court” and “the precautionary principle”.
epe-sb-alh-mk / ak / swi