Thousands of Dutch farmers have taken to the streets in their tractors to protest against the government’s plan to reduce nitrogen emissions by half by 2030, which could force many farms to close or reduce their livestock. The farmers claim that they are being unfairly targeted by environmental regulations and that their protests are being ignored or censored by the mainstream media.
The farmers are supported by the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), a political party that was founded in 2019 and has become one of the most popular in the country, according to opinion polls. The BBB advocates for preserving the rural way of life and protecting farmers’ interests from what they see as a globalist agenda that threatens national sovereignty and identity.
Farmers Defense Force (FDF) is another major organization supporting farmers to raise their voice against the government’s draconian anti-nitrogen laws.
However, the farmers’ protests have also attracted the attention and endorsement of far-right groups and figures, both in the Netherlands and abroad, who have been spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation about the nitrogen plan. Some of these groups claim that the government is trying to destroy Western civilization by shutting down farms to make room for asylum-seekers, or that the nitrogen emissions are a hoax invented by climate activists.
The conflict between the farmers and the government shows no sign of resolution, as both sides remain entrenched in their positions and distrustful of each other. The protests have also polarized public opinion, with some people expressing sympathy and solidarity with the farmers, while others criticizing them for being selfish and irresponsible. The issue is likely to remain a hot topic in the upcoming national elections in March 2023, where the BBB hopes to gain more seats in parliament and challenge the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.