French farmers, frustrated by mounting costs and regulations, stormed the Paris Farm Show just hours before President Emmanuel Macron’s planned visit. The demonstration quickly developed into clashes with law enforcement.

Farmers confronted police presence inside the fairgrounds, unleashing their anger with shouts, boos, and calls for Macron’s resignation. The atmosphere became charged with emotion as protesters, brandishing signs and banners, emphasised their ownership of the agricultural sector with chants of “This is our home!” Riot police struggled to contain the situation, resulting in clashes that saw at least one protester arrested.

President Macron, who was scheduled to visit the fair after breakfast with French farmers’ union leaders, faced a disrupted event. The disruption led to the cancellation of a debate he had planned with farmers, food processors, and retailers on Saturday, as farmers’ unions announced their refusal to participate.

The cancellation follows weeks of protests by farmers demanding improved income, reduced bureaucracy, and resistance against unfair competition from cheap imported goods. The discontent, not limited to France, has spread throughout Europe, coinciding with the rise of far-right sentiments that view farmers as a crucial constituency. Analysts anticipate that this political shift may translate into far-right parties’ gains in the upcoming June European Parliament elections.

Earlier this month, French farmers temporarily suspended their protests after Prime Minister Gabriel Attal pledged new measures amounting to €400 million. Despite the initial suspension, protests have reignited this week as farmers seek to exert further pressure on the government, demanding additional assistance and the fulfilment of promises made by authorities.

After meeting with union leaders, President Macron expressed disapproval of the violent actions during the farmers’ fair incident. He stated that damaging stands and disrupting the show do not benefit fellow farmers and may discourage families from attending the crucial agricultural event.

The Paris Farm Show, a landmark event in France, typically draws around 600,000 visitors over nine days.