German farmers tell government to hit the brakes on subsidy cuts

German farmers kicked off a week of nationwide protests against subsidy cuts on Jan. 8, blocking roads with tractors and piling misery on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition as it struggles to fix a budget mess and contain rising far-right forces.

Convoys of tractors and trucks gathered on roads in sub-zero temperatures in nearly all 16 federal states, while protesters clashed with police and leading politicians warned that the unrest could be co-opted by extremists.

In some areas, farmers used tractors to block entry roads to highways, including several border crossings with France, causing traffic jams. There was disruption due to convoys of tractors in and around some cities, too. Production at a Volkswagen auto plant in Emden in northwestern Germany was stopped because access roads were blocked, preventing employees from getting to work, the German news agency dpa reported.

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