German farmers have blocked the streets of Berlin with over 3,000 tractors on Monday to protest government plans to abolish tax relief for agricultural diesel.
Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers' Association, said they will not accept the government’s recent offer to gradually phase out tax breaks, and will continue their protests.
“I have the impression that the coalition government has still not understood: We will not accept bad compromises on agricultural diesel,” he said in a statement.
“We need a change in policy that prioritizes the needs of our population, small and medium-sized enterprises, the economy and agriculture,” he added.
From the early morning, convoys of tractors brought traffic in Berlin to a standstill, and major city roads in the government district, and around the city’s landmark Brandenburg Gate were blocked.
Some of the farmers attached signs to their tractors and trucks that read: “No future without farmers,” “The farms are on fire, politicians are asleep,” “You do not play with food, secure agricultural production,” and “Stop wasting tax payer's money!”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz's left-liberal coalition announced last month that it is planning to cut agricultural fuel and vehicle subsidies, as part of the government’s new austerity measures to meet budget rules.