Thousands of European farmers took to the streets of Brussels, Belgium, on Monday to protest against plummeting food prices threatening their livelihoods.
The mass protest involved about 7,000 farmers – mainly from Belgium, France and Germany – who blocked up the streets with about 1,450 tractors, and gathered outside the headquarters of the European Union where the agriculture ministers were meeting.
As is usually the case, the demonstration started out quite peacefully and soon got heated, which lead riot police to push back the crowd and cordon off the area. However, the authorities weren’t able to hold the livid protestors off for long, because they probably didn’t anticipate that the farmers had no problem breaking the barriers with their farm equipment.
Frustrated with authorities holding them back, the protestors used tractors to burst through the police line – an epic moment thankfully caught on camera. Watch it in the video above.
As it turns out, the tractor vs. police showdown wasn’t the only highlight of the day, because the angry mob had also brought along a hay canon.
Things got even messier when people started pelting the riot police with eggs and other produce.
They had also brought along some farm animals to protest the prices of meat and milk.
Eventually, the riot police retaliated by using a high-pressure water cannon at the tractors and firing tear gas at the protestors.
However, things considerably cooled down once European agriculture ministers announced the release of 500 million euros ($557 million) in emergency funds to help ease the pressure.
“This demonstrates that the commission takes its responsibility towards farmers very seriously and is prepared to back it up with the appropriate funds,” said European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen.
Furthermore, the relief measures will be focused on milk producers, as the dairy market took a particularly hard hit after Russia banned imports of EU food products.