In a massive demonstration, thousands of German truck drivers, farmers, and agricultural workers have gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to protest the government’s ‘green’ plan to end tax breaks on diesel fuel. Approximately 3,000 tractors had arrived for the protest on Monday, with an additional estimated 2,000 on their way, potentially making it the climax of weeklong protests.

Berlin Police Chief Barbara Slowik informed city leaders that a total of 1,300 officers had been deployed to manage the situation. Major service delays were reported by Berlin’s public transit agency, as around 10,000 people registered for demonstrations against the plan by Chancellor Olaf Scholz to cut subsidies.





Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the protesting farmers that the country has run out of money for further subsidies, as the government announcement is part of a plan to try and fix a 17-billion-euro (US$18.6 billion) hole in Germany’s 2024 budget, as reported by AP last week.

“I can’t promise you more state aid from the federal budget,” he said, adding “But we can fight together for you to enjoy more freedom and respect for your work.”



The head of the farmers union, Joachim Rukwied, snatched the microphone from Lindner to ask the crowd to stop booing, telling them: “I have respect for every politician who is prepared to come to us … The finance minister is here, it makes no sense to boo him.”

The government has justified the cuts as ‘required’ after the country’s highest court annulled an earlier decision to redirect nearly US$66 billion originally meant to mitigate fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to combat climate change and modernize the country. Chancellor Scholz stated on Saturday that “we took the farmers’ arguments to heart,” adding that he thinks the government has arrived at “a good compromise.”

However, the farmers disagree and have continued to protest, demanding a better solution to the government’s ‘green’ plan that will not leave them financially strained.



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