19th April 2024
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Farmers with convoy of 500 tractors stage protest in central Madrid

An estimated 4,000 farmers with a convoy of 500 tractors protested in central Madrid on Wednesday, as part of on-going demonstrations against European Union and local farming policies and to demand measures to alleviate production cost hikes.

The protest, the biggest to take place in the Spanish capital after more than two weeks of daily protests across the country, included a rally outside the Agriculture Ministry. ALSO READ: In central Madrid and across Spain – the farmers’ protest continues.

As the protesting farmers waited for five columns of tractors to reach the gathering point alongside the Puerta de Alcalá monument at the central Plaza de la Independencia, they waved Spanish, regional and union flags and rang cow bells, while music blared from loudspeakers.

Traffic around the Puerta de Alcalá monument ground to a halt, with several buses unable to continue their routes as farmers crowded the streets.

There were scuffles with police as the farmers attempted to march along Alcalá street, a different route than had initially been planned. Officers in riot gear held the line, blocking the protesters’ advance, even as a number of tractors approached them.

Many of the tractors flew Spanish flags and some farmers carried banners reading, ‘There is no life without farming’ and ‘Farmers in Extinction’. The unions organising the protest said they were bringing 500 tractors and many more farmers on buses. 

Similar protests have taken place across the bloc in recent weeks, calling for less bureaucracy linked to the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy. Farmers complain that the 27-nation EU’s policies on the environment and other matters are a financial burden and make their products more expensive than non-EU imports. ALSO READ: Farmers in Spain stage fourth consecutive day of protests.

Spain and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, have made some concessions in recent weeks but farmers say they are insufficient. ALSO READ: EU scraps pesticide proposal, as farmers continue to protest.

Besides EU policies, Spanish farmers maintain that a law aimed at guaranteeing that wholesale major supermarket buyers pay fair prices for their goods isn’t being enforced while consumer prices soar.

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