Farmers with Polish national flags burn a coffin with placard 'A farmer, lived 20 years was killed by Green Deal' in front of the Prime Minister's Chancellery during the nationwide farmers protest in Warsaw, Poland 06 March 2024. EPA-EFE/PAWEL SUPERNAK


Polish MP ‘tear-gassed by police’ at farmers’ protest in Warsaw


Sławomir Mentzen MP, a leader of the Polish right-wing Confederation party who was at a farmers’ protest outside the Polish Parliament, accused the police of tear-gassing him and other demonstrators who were, he said, behaving peacefully.

Mentzen claimed on March 6 paramedics treated him after the incident, adding police had “escalated” the situation outside the government building rather than trying to defuse it.

He said such alleged actions seemed to be a “return to the days when the police attacked the Independence Day marches” during the lifetime of the previous Donald Tusk-led government.

That appeared to be a reference to reports of the police having used agent-provocateurs to incite violence at such demonstrations, including an arson attack outside the Russian Embassy.

Conservative (PiS) MP Adam Andruszkiewicz told news portal that the current Tusk-led Government had shown the demonstrators “bare knuckled fists” rather than dialogue, adding it “had used force to take over public media”.

Fellow PiS MP Anna Kwiecień said the trouble at the latest protest was not of the farmers’ making “but the work of unknown provocateurs, intent on sowing discord with firecrackers” and throwing paving stones.

Her colleague Ryszard Bartosik claimed police had used “excessive force” and that they had treated the farmers as “adversaries rather than Polish citizens”.

According to law-enforcement authorities, several officers were injured and scores of demonstrators arrested as they tried to break through police cordons to get into the parliament building.

There were, they added, instances of car tyres being set aflame outside the Prime Minister’s Chancellery as well as the burning of a make-believe coffin bearing the inscription “farmer killed by the Green Deal” and numerous European Union flags.

The protest organisers had hoped farmers would be able to drive their tractors into the city as part of their demonstration. Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, an ally of current Prime Minister Tusk, denied them permission, arguing it would be “dangerous and disruptive”.

Tomasz Obszański, chairman of the Solidarity of Individual Farmers’ organisation, told Brussels Signal the protests were receiving public support.

“This action is one which demonstrates the  solidarity of farmers, workers, miners, hunters and foresters,” he said.

“There is also solidarity coming from  consumers and all people who care that this [EU] Green Deal should be dismantled.”

The farmers were demonstrating in Warsaw over the Green Deal as well as cheap food imports from Ukraine.

They claim an embargo against Ukrainian grain has proved ineffective as transit of that produce through Poland is not properly controlled. Along with the PiS opposition, they are demanding the Government stop all Ukrainian agricultural products entering Poland unchecked.

The farmers’ demonstrations first erupted on February 9 and have since focused on blocking roads and border crossings to and from Ukraine.

Tusk met farmers’ leaders on February 29 and pledged he would “seek EU restrictions of Ukrainian imports”, a ban on Russian and Belarusian food imports and the “suspension” of those parts of the Green Deal that “impact negatively” on Polish agriculture.