Farmers' protests have not stopped. Image from yesterday by Lusa's Hugo Delgado
Farmers' protests have not stopped. Image from yesterday by Lusa's Hugo Delgado

Farmers block access to the A4 and IP2 in Macedo de Cavaleiros

“Won’t stand down until there is dialogue”

Dozens of farmers have gathered this morning in Macedo de Cavaleiros, Bragança, forcing the A4 to be cut off.

João Faiões, a reporter for SIC Notícias on the scene, says that at 8am protesters were still working out their plan to reach the highway, because GNR police had managed to head them off with a “reinforced contingent”at the site of the gathering, next to the junction that connects two important roads: the A4 and the IP2.

He explained farmers “had already tried to block the highway, but were unsuccessful” because of police presence. 

The atmosphere, according to João Faiões, was one of impatience and, at times, even tension.

“We’ll do everything we can to get on the highway,” one farmer told him, before questioning why police wouldn’t let the farmers in their tractors occupy just one lane of the highway, as has happened in other parts of the country.

Then, at 8:30 am, protesters managed to “circumvent” authorities, and ended up entering the highway. 

Initially, they occupied both lanes in one direction, but then allowed traffic to flow in only one.

By 9am, the farmers had blocked both directions of the A4 in the Macedo de Cavaleiros area, forcing light vehicles to reverse. 

Naturally, heavy vehicles are unable to do this, so they will have to wait for the protesters to demobilize, says SIC.

Thirty kilometers away, another group of protesters, from the south of the Bragança district, blocked the IP2 and IC5 in the Vila Flor and Carrazeda de Ansiães area.

WHY HAVE THESE PROTESTS RETURNED?

The farmers are calling for the Minister of Agriculture to come to Trás-os-Montes to discuss specific aspects of local agriculture. For this reason, they say they will not stand down “until there is dialogue,” one has told SIC.

Last week, the Executive announced an aid package of around 500 million euros to mitigate the impact of the drought and to strengthen the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan (PEPAC), guaranteeing that most of the measures will come into force this month, with the exception of those that depend on the green light from Brussels.

Farmers at the time agreed to stop blocking roads, but a number stressed this was not an end of their battle for proper recognition, and the right to lead sustainable lives.

Already yesterday, around 150 tractors led a ‘slow march’ through the streets of Vila Real, demanding fair payment for production. Whereas earlier protests had not been backed by the nation’s federation of farmers, this one was being promoted by the national federation of ‘Baldios’ (common land, used by farmers), which is affiliated to the national federation.

Lusa Daniel Serralheiro, of the Baldios federation, told reporters: “We are very mobilized in this fight”.

Source material: SIC Notícias