The “siege of Paris” operation was launched by farmers on Monday, January 29, in the early evening. No less than eight highways have since been blocked.

About ten days after the start of the farmers’ mobilization, and while the government’s first announcements on Friday did little to convince the demonstrators, the FNSEA and the Young Farmers of the Greater Paris Basin launched, Monday January 29, a large-scale operation. Its name says a lot about the objective of the protesters: “siege of Paris”. While the blockages began Monday at the beginning of the afternoon, they should be maintained for an “indefinite period,” the unions clarified over the weekend. If the government indicated that new announcements would be made on Tuesday, in its latest update on the situation, carried out at around 7 p.m. Monday evening, the Île-de-France roads department, Sytadin, indicated:

Not only to demand a response from the State, it is at the European level that the movement wants to be heard, but this Thursday, February 1, an extraordinary European Council is taking place in Brussels at which Emmanuel Macron is expected to speak. The blockages around Paris must therefore last at least until Thursday according to Stéphane Sanchez, director of the FNSEA Grand Bassin Parisien. And to last over time, rotations will be set up and buses chartered to facilitate the journey for farmers who come from far away. Because in addition to the eight Ile-de-France departments – Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Val-d’ Oise -, Aisne, Aube, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Marne, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Seine-Maritime and Somme are mobilized.

The eight blockades organized from January 29 all took place “30 kilometers” from Paris, warned the president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau on RTL. His counterpart from the Young Farmers of Ile-de-France, Clément Torpier, also assured franceinfo that the demonstrators have “no intention of returning to Paris”. Both hope that this rapprochement of the capital will be enough to put pressure on the government to obtain new measures. But if that doesn’t prove to be enough, will they dare to move further into Paris? None of the unionists mentioned or ruled out this scenario.

The fact remains that going inside large cities, particularly Paris, is now a red line set by the Minister of the Interior. Gérald Darmanin, who announced the deployment of 15,000 members of the police, as well as armored vehicles and helicopters to monitor the progress of the convoys, assured that the police would not intervene unless a line red is crossed. More than returning to Paris, the solution to further harden the movement would consist of blocking other roads such as major national roads, according to the unions.

Some trade unionists still make partisan speeches for the blocking of Paris, such as Cyrille Milard, the president of the FDSEA Seine-et-Marne who coordinates the blockages of the A4, A5 and A6 and assured Le Parisien that he wanted to carry out “a total blockade” of the capital.

The FNSEA and the Young Farmers only aim to block the major highways leading to Paris, but the rural Coordination union sees further and plans to block the Rungis market, the nerve center of Ile-de-France. Monday morning, a convoy of tractors left Agen with the aim of reaching Rungis on the evening of January 30 or the morning of January 31. But blocking the Parisian market of national interest is another red line set by Gérald Darmanin and if no traffic problems were observed near Rungis this Monday, armored law enforcement vehicles monitor the entrance.

The president of Rural Coordination, Véronique Le Floc’h, has been hammering home the idea of ​​blocking Rungis for several days. At the start of the farmers’ crisis she also said that “the Agricultural Show could also be blocked.” “There is a deadline and I think that all our politicians must be aware of it. If no response is provided quickly, they know very well that the Agricultural Show could be hot,” she declared on January 24 on BFMTV. Currently, no majority agricultural union has called for a boycott of the event.