Farmers in Berlin and Brandenburg used hundreds of tractors to protest against planned cuts by the federal government and paralyze traffic. Craftsmen and transport companies expressed their solidarity with the farmers’ actions on Monday. Almost 700 vehicles stood close together in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and more than 500 tractors lined the streets near the State Chancellery in Potsdam.

Motorway entrances throughout Brandenburg and other important traffic junctions were blocked for hours. In the morning, students waited in vain for their buses. The traffic disruptions were expected to last into the evening. In Berlin, the Street of June 17th had been closed since Sunday evening.

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) called on the federal government to completely reverse the cuts. At the same time, there was criticism because the transport of goods, for example for the food trade, came to a standstill due to the massive blockades.

Demonstrators vented their displeasure against the traffic light government in Berlin by honking their horns and using protest posters. You could read sayings like “If the farmer is dead, there is no bread”, “You want to ruin the farmers” and “The traffic light has to go”.

Although the federal government has now partially withdrawn its announced subsidy cuts, the farmers want to stick to their week of action. According to the traffic light plans, the exemption from motor vehicle tax for the agricultural industry should continue to apply. The discount on agricultural diesel is to be gradually abolished.

Head of government speaks to farmers

In front of the State Chancellery in Potsdam, the honking of tractors and loud shouts from angry farmers could be heard. A sign read: “Beware of storms and wind and farmers who are angry.” Prime Minister Woidke first spoke to several farmers in the crowd and then climbed onto a crane vehicle. “I can only advise the federal government to completely reverse the cuts,” he said and announced, among other things, talks with the state farmers’ association.

“These subsidies help ensure that a state like Brandenburg, with relatively poor soils, remains agriculturally competitive,” said Woidke in the evening on the RBB program “Brandenburg Aktuell”. This means that the Brandenburg cultural landscape can be managed and preserved. Agriculture is the “heart and backbone of our rural regions,” emphasized Woidke.

“I assume that this is not the last protest,” said Benny Hecht, district farmer boss of Teltow-Fläming, in front of the State Chancellery. There is great dissatisfaction, also in other sectors.

“In the end, we all want to have affordable food, an affordable life, and not just go to work for the state. That applies to us, to us farmers, and to everyone else too,” said farmer Phillip Oßwald (24) during the protests in Berlin. The protests affected everyone – so it wasn’t just the farmers who were on the streets. Around 1,300 demonstrators gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate for a rally at which the lobby association Free Farmers spoke.

Before the protests, there was concern that right-wing extremists wanted to infiltrate the actions. According to a dpa reporter in Berlin, there were a few posters at the demonstration in the heart of the capital that used right-wing populist symbolism. Right-wing flags were also shown here and there.

Criticism from chambers of crafts of the federal government’s policy

The Brandenburg Chamber of Crafts Association also criticized the actions of the traffic light coalition. “Many craft businesses are disappointed with the federal government’s current policy. Bakers and butchers in particular fear that the loss of subsidies for farmers will increase the cost of raw materials in their businesses.”

In Cottbus, the Brandenburg SME Initiative called for protests out of dissatisfaction with economic policy. A column of around 1,500 vehicles rolled through Brandenburg’s second largest city and caused severe traffic delays.

Freight transport center south of Berlin paralyzed

The Berlin-Brandenburg trade association reacted angrily to blockades by farmers. The industrial area in Großbeeren – an important logistics location south of Berlin – has been paralyzed, said the association’s spokesman, Nils Busch-Petersen, on Monday afternoon. It could be that 200 supermarkets would not receive any goods on Tuesday. The companies would not come to the site, said the spokesman. “We’re pretty angry. That’s not how proper protest works.” Distribution warehouses of large food retailers are located in Großbeeren. The police checked the legality of the blockades at the entrances there. The protest was not announced in advance, said a spokeswoman.

Large-scale operation for the police

Around 850 police officers were deployed in Brandenburg because of the protests. More than 100 entrances to all highways in the country were blocked. By midday there had been a total of 171 meetings, the police headquarters said in an interim report. The security authorities said that the actions remained largely peaceful. “You also have to be careful,” said the spokesman for the North Police Department, Joachim Lemmel, in Neuruppin. In the north of Brandenburg there were also isolated cases of accidents because drivers wanted to get past the barriers.

Information from the police at X