Farmers warn protests will continue if authorities do not listen to them

Revolta Pagesa group hails “successful” border block demonstration

Protesting farmers abandon the block of the AP-7 highway near the border with France
Protesting farmers abandon the block of the AP-7 highway near the border with France / Gemma Tubert / Gerard Vilà
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 4, 2024 12:41 PM

June 4, 2024 12:54 PM

Farmers protesting this week accuse the Spanish government of not listening to their demands and warn that demonstrations will continue.

Martí Planas, spokesperson for the Revolta Pagesa group that organized Monday’s blockade of the border with France, held numerous calls with the Ministry of Agriculture throughout the day, and on one occasion the farmers hung up on them. "People are very united, very brave, and willing to do more," Planas said.

Over 100 tractors blocked the AP-7 highway at La Jonquera, just the French-Spanish border, after arriving accompanied by police officers. There were around 150 tractors on the southern side of the border and six on the northern one.

The block was lifted on Tuesday morning, just under 24 hours after starting. The last fifty tractors forming the blockade turned around and headed, escorted by the police, to exit 3 of Figueres. The participants described the AP-7 block as a "total success." 

However, the Unió de Pagesos farmers union, which is a majority group in Catalonia, did not support Monday’s demonstration because it does not consider it "legitimate" to mobilize during the ongoing campaign for the European elections.

On Monday, farmers on both sides of the border blocked all crossings and said it demonstrates their ability to coordinate and mobilize.

Sebastià Barboteu, a former from Vallespir, told the Catalan News Agency that, despite the relatively low participation of farmers from the French side of the border, the protest had worked and that the French government had taken note. "We have been told that the three claims we are making are honest, that they are applicable, and that they are already working on them," he said. He added that they sat down to talk about the demands last summer. 

The farmers, who have been protesting for months, are demanding greater food security in relation to imports, the prioritization of local products and the reduction of taxes on energy used in food production. 

Barboteu also warned MEPs who will be elected in this Sunday's elections that "there is a lot of work to be done for the primary sector."

In Bossòst, in the county of Vall d'Aran in the far north-west corner of Catalonia, farmers also ended the protest after just under 24 hours.

Since the road reopened, the passage of trucks and traffic has been constant. More than five hundred lorries coming from or heading toward France cross the N-230 highway there every day.

The French farmers, who cut the border on their side a few kilometers from the town of Les, already ended their block on Monday afternoon.

The representative of Revolta Pagesa in Bossòst, Gerard Cardona, said that the protest served to make the Spanish government hear the sector's claims and highlighted the importance of the creation of a guild of Catalan farmers.

This entity, which was created on Monday, will be "an independent, democratic and, above all, free and transparent organization."

To learn more about the farmers' protests, listen to the podcast below.