A week-long protest by German farmers culminated in Berlin being brought to a standstill on Monday with 30,000 people and 10,000 tractors and trucks descending on the city.

The demonstration centred on a stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where the crowd was addressed by the German government’s finance minister Christian Lindner.

Lindner said the government could not give farmers more state aid in the federal budget, but they could fight together so farmers could have more freedom and respect for their work.

Subsidy and tax cuts

The protests were sparked by the coalition government’s decision to cut green diesel subsidies and tax breaks for agricultural vehicles.

The government partially rowed back on these cuts recently.

The tax relief for agricultural vehicles will remain and the diesel subsidy will be phased out, as opposed to being cut immediately.

In a statement released after Monday’s protest, president of the German Farmers’ Association Joachim Rukwied said he was disappointed there was no further progress made with the government towards fully reinstating the green diesel subsidy.

“Only a solution for [the] agricultural diesel [subsidy] will get tractors off the road.

“We very much hope that reason will return to the traffic light coalition [the government] and that we will be accommodated on this issue at the budget adjustment meeting. The ball is in the coalition’s court,” he said.

Farmers were supported at the protest on Monday by the transport industry, bakers, butchers, restaurateurs and tradespeople.

The federal government announced plans in December to save €900m in farming subsidies after a court ruling cancelled €60bn in debt the government had anticipated receiving, which initially caused the protest action.

A previous protest was held on 18 December.

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German protests: Berlin brought to a halt

German farmers to hold major protest in Berlin this Monday