MADRID: Farmers with heavy tractors blocked the most important road link to France in Catalonia in northeastern Spain for the second day in a row on Wednesday, reported German news agency (dpa).

North of Girona, they tipped mounds of earth onto the road and unloaded large tractor tyres and thick tree trunks, as seen on images from the RTVE television station. A parallel alternative route, National Road II, was also blocked.

Farmers’ spokesmen warned on RTVE that the action would continue until politicians agreed to their demands.

Further west near Lleida, an important west-east link, the AP-2 motorway, was blocked by farmers.

Spain’s agriculture minister and farmers’ organisations have scheduled the next round of negotiations for next Tuesday after weeks of nationwide protests by farmers.

Lorries carrying tomatoes from Morocco destined for France and other northern European customers had already been broken into on the AP-7 the previous day and the loads dumped on the road.

The farmers are demanding protection from what they see as unfair imports from countries with lower environmental standards outside the European Union, less bureaucracy and aid due to the drought, which is particularly affecting Catalonia.

The regional government declared a water emergency at the beginning of February as it has been raining very little for some 40 months. Consumption has been restricted.

Farmers have been hit particularly hard, having to reduce their consumption by up to 80 per cent. - Bernama, dpa

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