The demonstrations come days before Dutch voters go to the polls in provincial elections Wednesday that indirectly also elect the national parliament’s upper house and could have an effect on proposals for reducing nitrate pollution.
Rotterdam broadcaster Rijnmond showed video of a convoy of tractors crossing the city’s Erasmus Bridge early Saturday, apparently on their way to The Hague. One of the tractors was emblazoned with a banner saying in Dutch “#proudofthefarmer.”
Anger at moves to cut nitrate emissions have spread from the Netherlands to other European nations. Just over a week ago, farmers drove hundreds of tractors into the heart of the Belgian capital, Brussels, snarling traffic.
“We see tractors on their way to The Hague from various locations,” police in the city tweeted. “We are monitoring the roads and telling drivers of these vehicles not to enter The Hague.”
The city banned tractors, citing safety concerns. At protests in recent years, farmers have driven hundreds of tractors into the center of The Hague.
The government has said that nitrate emissions, which are produced by livestock, transport and industry, must be drastically reduced close to nature areas that are part of a network of protected habitats for endangered plants and wildlife stretching across the 27-nation European Union.
The coalition wants to cut emissions of pollutants, predominantly nitrates, by 50% nationwide by 2030. Ministers call the proposal an “unavoidable transition” that aims to improve air, land and water quality, and have warned that it will mean “that not all farmers can continue their business.”
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