Thousands of farmers descend on Madrid for major tractor protest over EU policies

Farmers scuffle with Spanish riot police during a protest in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, 21 January, 2024.
Farmers scuffle with Spanish riot police during a protest in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, 21 January, 2024. Copyright Associated Press
By Euronews with AP
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Wednesday's demonstration is the biggest to take place in the Spanish capital after more than two weeks of action.

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Hundreds of farmers drove their tractors into central Madrid on Wednesday as part of ongoing protests against the European Union's 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, will include a rally outside the Agriculture Ministry headquarters.

Many of the tractors flew Spanish flags and some farmers carried banners reading, “There is no life without farming,” and "Farmers in Extinction.”

The Union of Unions organising group said they were bringing 500 tractors and many more farmers on buses. Many of the tractors may have to stay outside of the city because of government restrictions.

Similar protests have taken place across the EU in recent weeks. Farmers in many countries complain that the bloc's policies on the environment and other matters impose a heavy financial burden and make their products more expensive than non-EU imports.

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

Both Spain and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, have made some concessions in recent weeks, but farmers say they are insufficient.

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