France: 66 farmers arrested for protesting next to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Tractors and hay bales blocked the French capital's iconic Champs-Élysées to protest the harm done by European regulations to the agricultural sector.

(AFP / VOZ MEDIA) French law enforcement detained 66 people Friday morning during a surprise protest by farmers next to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the iconic Champs-Élysées was blocked with tractors and hay bales.

The Rural Coordination union coordinated the protest, which began at 4 a.m. The union shared on X that the aim of the "peaceful" protest was to "save our French agriculture":

Around 6 a.m., eight tractors arrived at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, police indicated, specifying that they detained 66 participants for briefly halting traffic on this key avenue in the west of the capital.

Farmers in different European countries have been protesting for weeks against what they consider excessive environmental regulations, low revenue and competition from cheaper imports from outside the European Union.

The union framed the protest in the celebration of the Paris Agricultural Show, where French President Emmanuel Macron needed protection last weekend from a crowd of hundreds of angry protesters.

Although the government avoided sending security forces to defuse the agricultural protests that shook France in January, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin warned that if they entered Paris, the government would act.

The government promised reforms in the sector, but farmers have continued blocking roads, setting tires on fire and blocking supermarkets.

In December 2018, the Arc de Triomphe was vandalized as part of the "Yellow Vest" protests, images that went viral worldwide.

Five months before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, the government is striving to show that France will be prepared to provide the security necessary to host one of the world's largest sporting events.