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Tractors with protesting farmers make their way past the famous city walls of Ávila, central Spain, on Thursday. EFE
Ministers hope to keep goods moving as farmers' protest in Spain deepens
Farmers' protests

Ministers hope to keep goods moving as farmers' protest in Spain deepens

Protesters have said the government has not been listening to their concerns as discontent spreads wider to the fishing industry

Clara Alba / SUR

Madrid / Malaga

Friday, 9 February 2024, 16:55

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The tractor protests organised by farmers across Spain this week took on renewed force on Thursday when main farming unions and associations officially started protest action. Up to then, the widespread demonstrations causing traffic havoc which began on Tuesday had been organised by farmers informally over social media.

Faced with the protests getting out of control, food distribution companies and employers jointly called for protesters to avoid stopping goods getting to market.

"Some companies are already reporting delays and incidents at the entrances and exits of their warehouses in Catalonia, Madrid, Castilla y León and the east, among other areas, although no supply problems are expected at the point of sale," they said.

Minister of Transport Óscar Puente said on Thursday that he did not expect shortages, although "we will be on guard because everything can change". Reports said the government had ordered police to deal swiftly with any attempt to block the distribution of goods in the coming days. By mid-week some 2,500 people had been identified for possible government fines for the unauthorised demonstrations.

"The government is not listening to us," warned Tomás Rojas, finance director of the main association representing farming cooperatives. He added that his organisation had been "asking for a meeting with the Ministry for Ecological Transition for five years" to discuss the sector's concerns over issues including price competition from outside the EU, green policies and the drought.

One of the most affected areas this week was Barcelona. By Friday, protests were expected to centre on the large distribution centres in Zaragoza in the north of the country. Attention was also turning to Madrid, where lorry drivers are expected to join farmers in protest on Saturday, "entering Madrid and paralysing the markets".

The fishing industry is planning to join further action.

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