Thursday, 8 February 2024, 10:20
Farmers’ protests across Malaga province intensified overnight after a lorry was set on fire in Antequera on Wednesday evening (7 February).
Farmers part of the so-called #6F movement, in reference to 6 February are angry at the EU's strict agricultural policies and the low prices they receive from distributors and supermarkets, which do not allow them to cover their costs and could see the sector squeezed out of business. Protests are also happening in other European countries.
Tractors formed a blockade in front of a Mercadona logistics centre in Antequera yesterday despite a heavy police presence. They also cut off the A-92 motorway in Antequera for almost an hour, leaving traffic backed up for several kilometres. Tension escalated about 8pm when riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the protesters. SUR can confirm that amid the chaos a lorry carrying chemicals and plastics was burnt at the entrance to the Mercadona logistics centre.
Lorries forced to queue outside the area were finally able to enter about midnight after the protesters dispersed. Farmers have since criticised police for their action. "There were whole families and children here,” Sebastián Ramos said, one of the many farmers. Protesters told SUR they intend to return today to block the site again, in what would be the third day of protests.
Elsewhere, some 38 tractors that had blocked the Paseo Marítimo Antonio Machado in Malaga on Tuesday rolled out of the city towards the Palacio de Deportes Martín Carpena. They were followed by an escort of police vehicles and a helicopter. That move came 24 hours after they had blocked off access to the Port of Malaga as they protested against current EU agricultural policies and called for greater control over the entry of non-EU products, among many other demands. They intended to hold out until Wednesday, but increased police pressure caused some to reconsider.
Most of the 200 tractors that had taken part in the protest the day before had already left overnight. "Do you know what it's like to spend two days trying to sleep in a tractor?" asked María Dolores Bravo, one of the farmers who held out until the end. Before midday, the port was accessible again, with traffic returning to normal.
The national government sub-delegation in Malaga province confirmed fines of up to 400 euros could be handed out as a result of the protests.
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