site.btaUPDATED Protesting Farmers Block Major Road Junctions, Border Crossings
As part of a nationwide protest triggered by the lifting of a ban on Ukrainian agricultural imports, Bulgarian farmers blocked over forty important roads and border crossings on Monday. The protest organizers urged people to refrain from travelling unless it is a matter of emergency. The Interior Ministry said that "the entire personnel is engaged in ensuring public order" during the protests.
Some 26 branch organizations from across the sector are taking part in the protest, the Bulgarian Farmers Union said.
The protesters blocked the Danube Bridge border crossing with Romania; the road to and from Danube Bridge 2 was blocked as well. The road from Kardam to the border with Romania was blocked for heavy duty trucks only.
The leadership of the Bulgarian Farmers Union gathered at an air field in Byala Slatina, where all agricultural machinery from the region was pulled out. “We apologize to the citizens and warn them to postpone planned trips on September 18 and 19, as main roads will be closed across the country,” said Georgi Stoyanov, chairman of the Union. The protest will move to Sofia on Tuesday.
Effective protest actions will continue until all demands are met, Stoyanov said.
The industry has five demands for the government - to continue the ban on imports of agricultural goods from Ukraine, extending the ban on fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and honey; farmers to be paid the full amount of compensation for losses due to the war in Ukraine by September 30; state aid for areas lost to natural disasters to be paid immediately. The protesters also want additional state aid funds and an easing of the conditions of the Strategic Plan interventions.
The initiative committee for the indefinite effective protest actions to save Bulgarian agriculture insists that attention should not be focused exclusively on grain producers, as the protest actions involve the entire industry, including livestock farmers, beekeepers, fruit and vegetable growers.