Heerenveen (Netherlands) – It was gloomy night, the throng of protesting farm trekkers rolled through Heerenveen in the north of the country – suddenly shots were fired!
It all happened late Tuesday night. A tractor drove towards the police – so the officers had to shoot. However, internet videos show how the alleged amok driver simply drives past the police officers. Three people were subsequently arrested on suspicion of attempted manslaughter.
As the Dutch newspaper “ gelderlander.nlAccording to reports, the tractor driver who was shot at was 16-year-old Jouke from the village of Akkrum. He says: “It’s very clear from the pictures that I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m lucky to have survived.”
According to his lawyer Robert Snorn, the youth was shot at as he tried to leave the farmers’ protest with his tractor. He tried to get out of the traffic jam and had “no intention of fleeing from the police or evading a check”.
The 16-year-old’s tractor was hit – according to him, a projectile hit the grille in the driver’s cab. A few hundred meters later he was stopped and taken to the police station in handcuffs.
Jouke is now free again – and the police are now also investigating the incident internally. The family now wants to file a complaint themselves – for attempted manslaughter against the officers involved. She is also demanding compensation in an unknown amount. Previously, there should have been protests in front of the responsible police station.
Background to the protests
Farmers in the Netherlands have been protesting regularly since June 10th. They are protesting, sometimes violently, against the government’s plans to massively reduce nitrogen oxide emissions – for the farmers this means drastically reducing the number of animals in the stables.
The Netherlands is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world after the US and one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Europe. The main reason is livestock farming. In the country with 17.5 million inhabitants there are twelve million pigs, four million cattle and 100 million chickens in stables and on the pastures.
In order to meet its climate targets by 2030, the government wants to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 70 percent in 131 regions. For farmers in the country, this means reducing livestock by at least 30 percent. The protests continued into the night of Thursday, according to media reports, 19 people were arrested.