Norwegian farmers blockade supermarket warehouses in protest action

Up to 300 farmers across Norway parked their tractors across roads Friday, preventing distributors from completing their deliveries.

The industrial action, which began at 6am, lasted for three hours.

26 different warehouses were blockaded by the farmers, who carried out the protest to express their anger at agricultural negotiations.

By blockading the warehouses, the farmers prevented food products from being delivered to stores.

“We have achieved what we wanted to. We have brought attention to the fact that Norwegian food in shops is not a matter of course,” farmer Lars Petter Bartnes told news agency NTB.

Up to 300 farmers across Norway parked their tractors across roads Friday, preventing distributors from completing their deliveries.

The industrial action, which began at 6am, lasted for three hours.

26 different warehouses were blockaded by the farmers, who carried out the protest to express their anger at agricultural negotiations.

By blockading the warehouses, the farmers prevented food products from being delivered to stores.

“We have achieved what we wanted to. We have brought attention to the fact that Norwegian food in shops is not a matter of course,” farmer Lars Petter Bartnes told news agency NTB.

The farmers parked at warehouses owned by the NorgesGruppen, Coop and Rema supermarket groups.

Some drivers were visibly irritated at the delays caused by the blockade.

“There was a Danish driver on his way to Sweden. He was short of time and was quite angry. He drove around our blockade. But generally we were respected by all the drivers here,” farm owner Bodil Fjelltveit of Bergen Farmers Union told NTB.

At one blockade, in Follo, police intervened, deeming it unlawful since the farmers had not applied for permission to carry out the protest. But the farmers were nevertheless allowed to complete their protest shortly after, reports NTB.

The protest is a result of farmers’ anger at the collapse of parliamentary negotiations on state support for agriculture Tuesday, reports the news agency, with the government offering one billion kroner ($119 million) less than the demands of the farmers.

“We wanted to make it clear that Norwegian food cannot be taken for granted,” Bartnes said.

Supermarkets themselves appear to have chosen to remain neutral over the famers’ protest.

“This is a clear message from the Norwegian Agrarian Association [Norges Bondelag] to the government. We take no stance on what this dispute is about,” Per Roskifte, communications director with the NorgesGruppen wholesaler group, said to NTB.

The farmers parked at warehouses owned by the NorgesGruppen, Coop and Rema supermarket groups.

Some drivers were visibly irritated at the delays caused by the blockade.

“There was a Danish driver on his way to Sweden. He was short of time and was quite angry. He drove around our blockade. But generally we were respected by all the drivers here,” farm owner Bodil Fjelltveit of Bergen Farmers Union told NTB.

At one blockade, in Follo, police intervened, deeming it unlawful since the farmers had not applied for permission to carry out the protest. But the farmers were nevertheless allowed to complete their protest shortly after, reports NTB.

The protest is a result of farmers’ anger at the collapse of parliamentary negotiations on state support for agriculture Tuesday, reports the news agency, with the government offering one billion kroner ($119 million) less than the demands of the farmers.

“We wanted to make it clear that Norwegian food cannot be taken for granted,” Bartnes said.

Supermarkets themselves appear to have chosen to remain neutral over the famers’ protest.

“This is a clear message from the Norwegian Agrarian Association [Norges Bondelag] to the government. We take no stance on what this dispute is about,” Per Roskifte, communications director with the NorgesGruppen wholesaler group, said to NTB.

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