Thousands of Spanish farmers have taken to the roads in a new day of protest, with threats to paralyse cities and block logistic centres. Elsewhere in Spain, they are protesting against prices, excessive environmental strictness, and bureaucracy.
Early in the morning, tractors and demonstrators began their slow march towards Barcelona. It marks a critical moment in the mobilisations that seek to draw attention to the demands of the Spanish countryside.
Blockades and demonstrations
Farmers in Catalonia unanimously decided during Tuesday’s meetings to extend their protests towards Barcelona. Their aim is to reach key locations such as the Conselleria de Acció Climàtica, Alimentació i Agenda Rural, the government delegation, and the EU office in the city to present their demands through a manifesto supported by thousands of signatures.
Aiming to be heard, they chose to travel from Girona to Barcelona via the AP-7 highway after negotiations to ‘free up’ the N-II road as a concession. The farmers, travelling with hundreds of tractors, plan to enter Barcelona through two of the main arteries: the Diagonal and the Meridiana, hoping to clog these roads and gain more attention for their demands.
The day of protest is not limited to Catalonia; almost all Spanish provinces have seen demonstrations from the agricultural sector. The farmers intend to paralyze traffic on the country’s main highways, already leading to traffic problems at key locations such as Zaragoza, Cheste, Paterne, Jaén, Granada, Córdoba, Toledo, and Málaga, among others. The Spanish traffic authority DGT reported numerous road closures.
Response from the government and the European Commission
Faced with the escalation of the protests, Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, gave a response in which he reiterated the government’s willingness to seek solutions. He also emphasized that the European Commission’s decision to withdraw its legislative proposal to reduce pesticide use was “intelligent and timely.” Furthermore, Planas announced aid programs worth €1.4 billion for the agricultural sector, underlining the government’s commitment to continuous support for the countryside.
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The European Commission has softened its stance on the green agenda with the promise of a green transition that “leaves no one behind,” withdrawing controversial proposals in an attempt to calm the farmers’ protests in Europe, including the reduction of pesticide use.
Catalan President to meet agricultural sector
The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, will meet with representatives of the agricultural sector on Wednesday afternoon at the Palau de la Generalitat to listen to their demands. Several groups of farmers plan to travel to Barcelona with their tractors. Authorities expect this could lead to traffic congestion in and around the city.