Peasant demonstrations in Spain entered their third day on Friday, with demonstrators accusing the government of illegally obstructing their movement.
Nationwide protests began on Wednesday, February 6, with farmers driving tractors into cities. Farmers blocked traffic and gathered outside government buildings in major cities, including many state capitals. State security forces reportedly stopped demonstrations in many places with “clear orders to impose heavy fines.” El Mundo.
The largest demonstration took place in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and important port, where around 2,000 tractors blocked the highway leading to the Catalan capital for a day. Regional President Pere Aragonés, along with the Minister of Climate Change, met with the farmers for 90 minutes and listened to their demands.
In addition to demanding less bureaucracy, fair prices and an end to imports from competitors outside the EU, farmers are calling for an end to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the EU’s Green Deal.
Various independent “platforms” outside of existing farmers’ organizations have started demonstrations, some of which are also supported by major domestic farmers’ organizations. Platform 6F is calling on farmers to gather in Madrid by tractor this weekend, with the final destination being the headquarters of the ruling socialist party, Partido Socialisto Obrero España (PSOE). Organizers expect 5,000 truck drivers and possibly fisheries workers to attend, bringing the total estimated to be at least 50,000.
Farmers continued to choke up traffic on roads in and around the Spanish city on Friday, while those gathered in Valladolid took to news sites to complain. La Gaceta Police reportedly tried to prevent farmers from protesting with tractors.
“Some people are not allowed to open their warehouses, others are not allowed to drive on the roads and are blocked by road spikes,” said farmer Juan Adariat. Others who took part in the protests made similar complaints.
In Extremadura, farmers were undeterred by the mayor of Mérida’s announcement that he would fine farmers who obstruct traffic. Juan Torres, one of the participants, said: La Gaceta,
So we came to give to him. [Mayor Antonio Rodríguez Osuna] Show him what he is due and that we are united too…. And we don’t belong to any organization, we don’t fly any flags, we’re just farmers and workers.
Another farmer said it was better to protest now because of the potential hefty fines for obstructing traffic.
If they don’t punish us for protesting, [they’ll punish us] You’ll be driving one of our diesel tractors within a few years. As the famous phrase goes, “You can be happy without having anything,” and that’s what they’re looking for.