Jeremy Clarkson has emerged as an unlikely ally for angry French farmers after hundreds took to the roads in protest.
Farmers in France have blocked motorways in and out of the capital Paris as union bosses have vowed to take control of the fresh food market.
Their aim is to prevent food from arriving at supermarkets in Paris as they continue to protest a long list of issues caused by Emmanuel Macron’s government and the EU.
Protestors have been struggling with low income, red tape, cost-rising environmental policies, bureaucracy and the profit-slashing competition of imports.
According to French authorities, 15,000 police have been rolled out to prevent tractors from making it into Paris while the government has said it will announce new support for farmers today.
Among those taking to the roads for the cause on Monday was Canly farmer Robin Leduc who called on government action – and explained why the French are pleading for a celebrity like Clarkson to raise awareness.
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Former Top Gear star Clarkson has been lauded in the UK for his Amazon Prime Video series Clarkson’s Farm in which he documents the hardships facing farmers up and down the country.
From making just £144 profit in his first year farming to dealing with endless red tape from local and national authorities, Clarkson has used his platform to shine a light on the turbulent world of farming.
Leduc said during the protests on Monday, according to the Telegraph: “We need a French celebrity to do the same as Jeremy Clarkson.
“Everything he explains in it [Clarkson’s Farm] is why we are here today.
Paris farming blockades: French farmers have taken to the motorways in their tractors in protest
“You may have left the EU, but we share many of the same problems regarding all these environmental rules.”
He also told the publication why he and so many other farmers were taking action.
“We’re here because we’ve had enough, we want to defend our pay, we’ve had enough of all the excessive red tape that’s even worse in France than the rest of Europe,” he said.
“The government has to act fast then we can all go home as we have work to do on our farms.”
French farmer protests: Jeremy Clarkson has been lauded by protestors
Clarkson has spoken out about the protests from farmers across Europe before, blasting the portrayal of similar action on media outlets including the BBC.
Addressing the protests in Germany earlier this month, he slammed in his Times column: “The green movement has come along and announced that it’s bad for the upper atmosphere to grow food and we must all stop.
“And because modern politicians have all become enslaved by idiotic left-leaning pressure groups, they’ve nodded, said okay and decided to cut farming subsidies to the bone. Which means Europe’s farmers are screwed.
“They can’t make anything approximating to a living wage without government help and they can’t put up prices because the supermarket system doesn’t allow it…
“Everyone from the BBC to The Guardian is saying that the farmer protests in Germany have nothing to do with fuel prices and are, in fact, a smokescreen for a resurgence of the far right.”
He went on to ridicule this perception in the media and has continued to back farmers across the continent in the face of the adversity they’re facing.