MADRID: Thousands of farmers used tractors to block roads across Spain for the second straight day on Wednesday amid Europe-wide protests against cheaper imports and heavy regulation.

Farmers gathered at dawn on dozens of roads, snarling traffic, mainly in Andalusia in the south, the northeastern region of Catalonia and Navarra in the north, according to the Spanish General Directorate for Road Traffic.

Hundreds of tractors drove slowly to the centre of Spain’s second city Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, where they were set to rally in front of the headquarters of the regional government later on Wednesday.

Tractors were used to block roads leading to the southern port of Malaga in Andalusia and the eastern port of Castellon, authorities said.

There were some tense moments between demonstrators and police. Five farmers were detained in the southern city of Granada following scuffles, local media reported. Spain’s CETM goods transport association urged the authorities to take steps to prevent the sector from being held “hostage to the protests”.

“We understand” farmers, but “the big victims” were transport companies, it added in a statement. Spain’s three main agricultural unions, Asaja, Coag and UPA, did not initiate the demonstrations which began on Tuesday. They have planned other protests this week, including Thursday in Salamanca in the northwest and Friday in the northern city of Bilbao.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2024

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