French farmers keep Paris roadblock threat as protests endure

French farmers keep Paris roadblock threat as protests endure

PARIS (Reuters) -French farmers maintained nationwide protests on Saturday and kept their threat of roadblocks around Paris, arguing government measures to quell the demonstrations did not go far enough to meet their demands for better pay and living conditions.

On Friday, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal's government dropped plans to gradually reduce state subsidies on agricultural diesel, and announced other steps aimed at reducing the financial and administrative pressures faced by many farmers.

Yet the FNSEA, France's biggest farming union, said it would keep up its protests and many farmers remained at roadblocks set up by motorways and major roads on Saturday.

"On Monday, we will be heading for Paris," farmer Vincent Gimneste told BFM TV, at a roadblock in southern France.

Two local farmers trade unions representing those working in the countryside around Paris also told French media they were targeting causing major disruption in the capital on Monday, possibly around the Rungis food market.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will visit a farmers' site on Sunday, said Attal's office, as the government tries to prevent the protests from gaining in momentum.

Demonstrators also held a silent march in the northern French town of Beauvais on Saturday, to pay tribute to farmers who have died in recent years, with some having committed suicide due to the stress of their working conditions.

France is the European Union's biggest agricultural producer and the French farmers' protests follow similar action in other European countries such as Germany and Poland, with many demonstrators saying they are being hit by globalisation and foreign competition.

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Bertrand Boucey, Elizabeth Pineau and Yves Herman;Editing by Giles Elgood)