Credit: Freepik

New Farmers’ Protest To Take Place In Prague On Thursday

Protests by farmers will take place in Prague on Thursday, when tractors will drive through the city and a demonstration will be held. The protest was announced by Jan Dolezal and Martin Pycha, heads of the Czech Agrarian Chamber and the Czech Agricultural Association, speaking after a meeting of representatives of farmers’ organisations yesterday.

In reaction, Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny (KDU-CSL) said he did not want to negotiate under ultimatums. However, he said he supports the right of the farmers to protest.

Vyborny said on Friday that the government had met some of the farmers’ five demands. The farmers, however, do not find the offer sufficient.

Dolezal said farmers feel very little help, and face severe bureaucratic burdens. “We need all five demands to be met to some extent,” he said.

According to Pycha, Czech farmers see the willingness of Vyborny to help, but see lacking support from the other parties in the five-party governing coalition.

“The demonstration will have two parts. The first part will be a ride of farming equipment, mainly along the embankment,” Pycha said. The second part will be a protest rally by farmers, probably in front of the Government Office, he said.

Hundreds of vehicles are expected to arrive in Prague, mainly from the surrounding Central Bohemia Region and other neighbouring regions, Pycha continued.

“If it depended on how many farmers wanted to come, we would fill the whole of Prague and stop [traffic in] the whole centre of Prague, including the main road, which we don’t want at the moment,” he added.

“We have chosen the route to concentrate mainly on government buildings. It won’t be a blockade, but the movement of agricultural equipment around Prague,” said Dolezal.

Farmers are demanding that the government supports rural employment, does not cut animal wellbeing support, returns land taxation to the level before the adoption of the budget consolidation package, and does not tax European operating subsidies. The fourth demand is for the government to actively defend the interests of Czech farmers in relation to the trade agreement with Ukraine, and the last demand is for the maximum possible increase in emergency aid to farmers if the European Commission allows it.

Vyborny said on Friday that the government will add money this year to support the wellbeing of farm animals, and next year will allocate CZK 2 billion to support rural employment.

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