(Bloomberg) -- Farmers angry about red tape and rising costs stormed France’s most traditional agriculture fair and booed President Emmanuel Macron as he opened the yearly event. 

Macron didn’t appear fazed by the hostilities, as dozens of farmers forced their way through the fair’s gates in southwest Paris and swarmed the area. Many of them shouted chants demanding Macron’s resignation. 

As riot police struggled to keep more violent protesters away, Macron met with farmers’ unions and held a two-hour on-camera debate. 

“I’m fine to talk to everyone, but everyone is whistling [loudly],” Macron told farmers. “We’re here to talk,” he said while appealing for calm.

The president, who spent more than seven hours at the venue, heard grievances ranging from the damaging impact of European environmental rules to farmers committing suicide. 

He touted measures recently announced by his government to address farmers’ concerns after weeks of nationwide protests, including pledges for more financial assistance and a vow to toughen a law aimed at ensuring fair prices for farmers. 

Macron promised to create a price floor to protect farmers’ revenues, and stressed that a strong farming and food sector is a major interest of the nation - something that should be enshrined into law. He also vowed to continue to push for more protection for farmers across the European Union.

Read more: Farmers’ Revolt Threatens Election Year Upsets Around the World

Farmers in the EU’s biggest agricultural producer are part of a wider movement, much of which has focused on the pace of economic and social transition in response to climate change. Demonstrations have been held from India to the US to Poland.

Attending the annual 10-day event — part livestock fair, part trade show, part massive food hall — is regarded as a must for France’s politicians and office seekers. 

Opposition leaders are set to visit the fair starting on Sunday. While fewer than 2% of the nation’s workers are farmers, the country’s citizens are raised to respect the food that comes from their animals and their land.  

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