Woman dies after car hits French farmers’ blockade; Germany faces massive rail strike – Europe live | Germany

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Woman dies during French farmers’ protest

A woman died this morning in southern France after a car hit a roadblock set up by protesting farmers, Reuters reported citing a police spokesperson.

The spokesperson said:

A car went into a farmers’ roadblock. It hit three people. One woman has died and two others were seriously injured. The three occupants of the car have been arrested.

A view of the destroyed vehicle that killed a woman and seriously injured her husband and teenage daughter when they were run over at dawn at a farmers’ roadblock in Pamiers, in the Ariege region of France
A view of the destroyed vehicle that killed a woman and seriously injured her husband and teenage daughter when they were run over at dawn at a farmers’ roadblock in Pamiers, in the Ariege region of France. Photograph: Valentine Chapuis/AFP/Getty Images

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Key events

Angelique Chrisafis

Angelique Chrisafis

The French farmers’ protests – calling on the government to cut red tape and taxes and ensure better prices for produce – are presenting Emmanuel Macron’s newly appointed prime minister, Gabriel Attal, with his first major headache as convoys of tractors continued to block key roads across France on Tuesday and farmers held demonstrations in towns.

Attal met farming unions on Monday night but did not assuage their anger. From Tuesday morning, farmers blocked roads across the country, including the area around Toulouse in the south-west, to Isère in the south-east, and Beauvais in the north.

“We’re prepared for anything, we’ve got nothing to lose,” said Josep Perez, a protester interviewed by BFM TV at a roadblock in the south-western fruit-growing region around Agen, where traffic on the A62 motorway had been disrupted.

Farmers on Tuesday drove to the prefect’s office in Agen and dumped piles of tripe from a local abattoir, threw kiwifruit and splattered the front of the building in red paint. They hung a banner saying: “We won’t die in silence.”

Arnaud Rousseau, the head of the FNSEA farming union, told RMC radio that the protests could last “a day, a week” or “as long as it takes” for the government to respond. “Every minute, we’re learning of a new roadblock,” he said. Every single département in France would be involved at some point during this week, he said.

Read more here.

Farmers gather as they take part in a blockade of the A62 highway to protest over taxation and declining income, near Agen. Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

Macron speaks out

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, sent a message to the country’s farmers, writing on social media that he has asked the government to be fully mobilised to provide concrete solutions to their difficulties.

He also said his thoughts are with the victims of the incident in Pamiers, where a car hit a farmers’ roadblock, killing a woman and injuring others.

Le drame de Pamiers nous bouleverse tous. Je pense avec émotion aux victimes et à leurs proches endeuillés.

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 23, 2024

À nos agriculteurs : j’ai demandé au gouvernement d’être pleinement mobilisé pour apporter des solutions concrètes aux difficultés que vous rencontrez.

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 23, 2024

14-year old not dead, French authorities say

French authorities have clarified that the 14-year old who was injured when a car hit a farmers’ roadblock has not died, contrary to information communicated earlier.

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Alternative for Germany (AfD) is down in the polls.

An Insa/Bild opinion poll found that AfD’s popularity has declined from 23% to 21.5% within the space of a week.

Here are images from a highway outside Toulouse, where farmers are protesting today.

Farmers block a highway near Villefranche-de-Lauragais, outside Toulouse. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
Farmers talk with a gendarme as they block a highway to protest over taxation and declining income, near Villefranche-de-Lauragais, outside Toulouse. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

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The 14-year old daughter of a woman who died when a car hit protesting French farmers’ blockade has also died after being seriously wounded in the incident, BFMTV reports.

UPDATE: French authorities have clarified that the 14-year old has not died, contrary to information communicated earlier.

See update here.

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The German constitutional court ruled today that an extreme-right party should have its tax relief cancelled, Deutsche Welle reported.

The case involves a party called Die Heimat (The Homeland), formerly the Nationalist Democratic party of Germany (NPD).

The court ruled that the party’s tax relief should be cancelled for six years and that state subsidies must be withdrawn, though the party has not recently received subsidies.

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More photos from France this morning, as farmers continue protesting.

Farmers stand near a lorry draped with the French flag as they block the A7 motorway near Albon, south-eastern France. Photograph: Olivier Chassignole/AFP/Getty Images
Farmers walk between lorries blocking the A7 motorway near Albon. Photograph: Olivier Chassignole/AFP/Getty Images

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Arnaud Gaillot, the head of France’s Young Farmers union, said protests would continue to intensify, as long as there were no concrete actions.

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Here are images from southeastern France today, as farmers block a motorway.

A farmer stands next to a line of tractors as they block the A7 motorway near Albon, southeastern France. Photograph: Olivier Chassignole/AFP/Getty Images
This photograph taken on January 23, 2024 near Albon, southeastern France, shows the A7 motorway during a farmer’s blockade. Photograph: Olivier Chassignole/AFP/Getty Images

Woman dies during French farmers’ protest

A woman died this morning in southern France after a car hit a roadblock set up by protesting farmers, Reuters reported citing a police spokesperson.

The spokesperson said:

A car went into a farmers’ roadblock. It hit three people. One woman has died and two others were seriously injured. The three occupants of the car have been arrested.

A view of the destroyed vehicle that killed a woman and seriously injured her husband and teenage daughter when they were run over at dawn at a farmers’ roadblock in Pamiers, in the Ariege region of France. Photograph: Valentine Chapuis/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 

Germany prepares for ‘massive’ six-day rail disruptions

Germany is gearing up for a large strike by train drivers’ union GDL, set to begin Wednesday and last until Monday.

“The GDL has announced strike action for the period from Wednesday, 24 January 2024 to Monday, 29 January 2024,” Deutsche Bahn wrote.

“This will result in massive disruptions to Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance, regional and S-Bahn services during this period. The emergency timetable only ensures very limited train services on DB’s long-distance, regional and S-Bahn services,” it added.

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