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Farmers block Madrid traffic with tractors in protest against government

Convoys of tractors stopped traffic around Spain's capital this Wednesday (21), in a protest by farmers against what they consider excessive bureaucracy and insufficient state aid. They met in the center of Madrid to march towards the Ministry of Agriculture.

Farmers have been protesting for weeks across Europe, most recently including Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic. They all call for less bureaucracy linked to the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy and a loosening of the bloc's environmental rules.

As they waited for five columns of tractors to arrive at the meeting point in the center of Independence Square, protesters in yellow vests rang cowbells there while also blasting music from loudspeakers.

Traffic around the Puerta de Alcalá monument came to a standstill, with several buses unable to continue their routes as farmers filled the streets.

As soon as the tractors arrived in the city, there were fights with the police during the march along Alcalá Street, a different route than initially planned. Police in riot gear held back the crowd, blocking the marchers' advance even as several tractors approached them.

Other participants moved towards the ministry along a parallel street, following the official route.

Some protesters mocked a television crew from the La Sexta channel, with one man even hitting the camera.

A farmer walked with a large white and brown cow, while another had a cart pulled by two oxen carrying stacks of counterfeit 500 euro notes.

Lucia Risueno, owner of a 52-year-old vineyard in the Castilla-La Mancha region, said authorities had not helped the sector and asked for fairer prices.

“I have the same expenses but I'm earning half, so we can't go on like this,” she told Reuters, adding that the protest will continue until the government implements strong measures to help farmers.

Adolfo Albaladejo, 54, said he was fighting to ensure that agriculture does not disappear from his country.

“The Spanish countryside wants protectionism. We want to protect our products and be competitive,” he said.

Source: CNN Brasil

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