After a Czech farmer protest on Monday was hijacked by pro-Russian forces, farming organizations joined together with 10 other European countries on Thursday to protest agricultural policies.
“Today’s demonstration has little to do with the struggle for better conditions for farmers. The demonstration is being organized by people who make no secret of their support for the Kremlin, for example, and are pursuing goals other than the interests of farmers,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala wrote on X about Monday’s protests.
Agricultural organizations reportedly distanced themselves from Monday’s protests, where some pro-Ukraine supporters were attacked and injured by demonstrators, who made death threats. Ultimately, riot police had to step in and shut down the demonstration.
“If we look at the group of people here shouting anti-government slogans and calling everyone names, that’s not what we wanted. We wanted a peaceful protest and to show that our protest is tractors on the highway and farmers, but we are in the minority here today,” Miloš Malý, coordinator of farmers joining the protests, told Czech media.
Czech farmers started a new round of protests on Thursday by driving their tractors to border crossings to meet with neighboring countries, joining forces to protest against policies, bureaucracy, and conditions impacting their businesses.
Twenty-seven of the nation’s European Union policies are the root of the protests, including the Green Deal, which farmers say makes their products more expensive than non-EU imports and the low prices their products bring.
The farmers invited Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny, his Slovak counterpart Richard Takac, and the representatives of farmers from Poland and Hungary to rally at a Czech-Slovak border crossing known as Hodonin-Holic, blocked by hundreds of tractors.
According to multiple news outlets, farmers from countries ranging from Germany, Poland, and Slovakia across Central Europe to the Baltics and Balkans participated in the protests.
“We don’t protest against the EU; we protest against the wrong decisions by the European Commission,” said Andrej Gajdos from the Slovak Chamber of Agriculture and Food.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic