Police in the Netherlands opened fire Tuesday on farmers in tractors protesting the country’s radical policies on reducing emissions.
The incident occurred around 10:40 p.m. that day in the town of Heerenveen when a group of farmers on a tractor allegedly tried to crash into police officers and their vehicles near the entrance to the A32 highway, Friesland police announced Tuesday.
Police said that they fired warning shots and shots targeting the tractor during the incident. The farmers fled from the scene once their tractor was hit.
Police later apprehended the tractor riders, according to local law enforcement, about 4 miles away from Heerenveen. Officers arrested three people in connection with the encounter.
The arrested comprised of a 46-year-old man, a 34-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, according to a Tuesday news release from the Friesland police.
“The investigation into the incident is ongoing. This is an investigation led by the public prosecutor into the facts and circumstances,” police said.
Depending on the investigation’s results, “it will become clear whether the persons will be detained longer or not,” the news release stated.
The Epoch Times disputed local law enforcement’s account of events, pointing to footage of the incident on Twitter.
The Epoch Times said the footage “does not clearly show the vehicle approaching either officers or service vehicles.”
News of the Tuesday encounter came as farmers across the country took to the streets with their cattle and farming equipment in the last few weeks to protest against the Dutch government’s plan to lower nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
As previously reported by The Western Journal, the plan entailed cutting nitrogen oxides and ammonia by up to 70 percent in areas near protected nature regions. The figure went up to 95 percent in some areas.
In a statement last month, the Dutch government said, “The honest message … is that not all farmers can continue their business,” The Associated Press reported.
According to the wire service, the government said that farmers who survived the anti-pollution crackdowns would have to change their way of farming.
Angered by being forced to bear the brunt of anti-pollution policies, farmers marched near politicians’ homes in protest, smeared manure on roads and blocked traffic on highways and near the border crossing with Germany.
According to the German news agency Deutsche Welle, they also blocked access to supermarket distribution centers.
Dutch politicians have publicly condemned such protests, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte saying on June 29 during a news conference in Madrid, “You can demonstrate, but in a civilized way.”
“So don’t block highways, don’t set off fireworks outside a minister’s house and spread manure and … scare two children, and endanger families,” Rutte said.
Friesland Police did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.