All 57 farmers who were detained since Wednesday morning because they blocked the road during a protest in Drenthe have been released, the police reports. A few hundred farmers had gathered at the police station in Assen in protest of the arrests. Fines were again issued in the run-up to this.
Most released farmers were fined 390 euros after questioning for breaking the prohibition against demonstrating with agricultural vehicles. The group also included five minors, who must report to the HALT agency.
Many of the fined farmers say they do not accept the fine and prefer to await the lawsuit to be held before the subdistrict court in Assen on November 19. A few have accepted the settlement.
Hundreds of farmers at Assen police station
Hundreds of farmers gathered at the Assen-Balkengracht police station on Wednesday afternoon to demonstrate against the arrests earlier that day. Demonstrating at the agency was allowed, but not with pullers, a police spokesperson told NU.nl. The farmers have adhered to that. Around five o'clock, all the farmers who had been trapped were released, which also meant the end of the demonstration outside the office.
On Wednesday afternoon in the run-up to the demonstration, 29 drivers of tractors and other agricultural vehicles were inspected in Assen. They receive a fine of 390 euros because in Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen are not allowed to demonstrate with an agricultural vehicle.
Boer protest at Assen police station after arrests
Action: 'Emotions run high'
Boerproestgroep Agractie has endorsed the spontaneous action by means of a statement. "Demonstrating with tractors and agricultural vehicles is a lawful way of demonstrating, because agricultural vehicles are simply allowed on public roads." According to the statement, the ban on farmers "reinforces the feeling of not being heard and accepted".
"Emotions run high," said Board member Bart Kemp in conversation with NU.nl about the protests. "A tractor belongs to a farmer and many farmers think that this ban goes against their right to demonstrate. They see this as a peaceful way of protest."
Farmers angry about ban
Until next Monday, a ban on demonstrating agricultural vehicles in the safety regions of Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen applies. According to the safety regions, unexpected demonstrations and blockades of highways and distribution centers led to unsafe situations.
Active farmers have been demonstrating for several days against the plans of Minister Carola Schouten (Agriculture) to prohibit the addition of extra protein to animal feed. The measure requires extra nitrogen space to be gained.
Drone films roadblock at farmers' protest in Drenthe
See also: Why farmers are angry with Minister Schouten's feeding measure