Berlin Stands Still: Uniting Against Government Policies

This news article was last update at 1200 hrs. UTC Time

Today, a massive protest took place in the center of Berlin, with an estimated 30,000 protesters, including farmers and representatives from various industries. The demonstration was primarily against the government’s plan to phase out agricultural fuel subsidies.

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  • Protesters used vehicles such as tractors, lorries, forklift trucks, and even children’s toy tractors to bring the city center to a standstill.
  • Joachim Rukwied, the president of the German farmers’ union, called on the government to scrap its plans to phase out fuel subsidies, warning that many farmers would be driven to bankruptcy by the decision.
  • Finance Minister Christian Lindner, who is the main force behind the decision to cut the fuel subsidy, addressed the rally but was met with loud boos and whistles.
  • The demonstration marked the culmination of a week of protests across the country that have attracted a growing number of workers from other fields, angry over high energy costs, mounting bureaucracy, high add-on labor costs, and a lack of consultation.
  • Representatives of the hospitality industry in attendance are demanding the government withdraw its recent VAT increase on restaurants from 7% to 19%.
  • The protests have put pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition as it struggles to fix a budget mess and contain right-wing groups. The disruption caused by protests and train strikes last week hurt coalition parties in the polls and propelled the far-right Alternative for Germany party to new heights.
  • At a later meeting with protest leaders in parliament, coalition legislators promised, without giving details, to unveil proposals on Thursday that would lower farmers’ costs while making their sector “sustainable”. Lindner said scarce money was needed for long-neglected investments in schools and roads and for industrial energy subsidies.

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German farmers drive tractors into Berlin to protest fuel subsidy cuts: ‘government must resign’ | South China Morning Post

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