OThe protesters also lit several bonfires in front of the police cordon that separates them from the courtyard that gives access to the building.
Belgian police used hoses from the security cordon set up by riot police to try to put out the fires that were closer, but the bonfire in the center of the square with the toppled statue, pieces of cardboard and iron was still burning until after midday. day (11:00 in Lisbon), according to Spanish news agency EFE, causing a constant cloud of black smoke that dominated the protest.
Everything took place in an atmosphere marked by words of protest, but also by moments of some relaxation.
Some of the farmers shouted slogans and tried to get as close as possible to the representation of the European Parliament, holding posters and many of them also holding the flags of the different European Union (EU) countries.
Others spent the morning drinking beer or chatting by the makeshift campfires. In the center of Luxembourg Square, close to the place where the burned statue was burning, they even set up a table with food and drinks, all with music playing in the background and the constant sound of the horns of parked tractors blocking the passage of vehicles on the road. road of the square and adjacent streets.
The protest blocked several streets in the Brussels neighborhood where the European institutions are located from early in the morning, coinciding with an extraordinary European Council that brought together the leaders of the 27 EU member states.
Hundreds of farmers have taken part in protests in several European countries to denounce the low prices paid to them by distribution companies, environmental regulations, administrative overload and free trade agreements, such as the one yet to be concluded between the EU and the Latin American countries of Mercosur.
Although this wave of protests in Europe was not an issue that EU leaders had planned to address at the summit, which focused on unlocking an aid package for Ukraine, some heads of government, such as Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo (the country that currently holds the biannual presidency of the EU Council), defended the need to address this issue at the start of the meeting.
A few hours later, when the image of the statue torn down by farmers in the square in front of the European Parliament representation circulated on social media, De Croo himself regretted this gesture in a post on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
The vandalized monument was erected in the late 19th century and pays tribute to British industrialist John Cockerill, who was the driving force of the Belgian steel and railway industry.
De Croo stated that “it is completely wrong to strip John Cockerill of his status as a symbol of Belgian industry” and called for “the clash between agriculture and industry” to be avoided.
“Farmers and businesspeople are not opposed. We need both for a strong and sustainable economy”, wrote the Belgian Prime Minister in the same publication.
[Notícia atualizada às 14h41]
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