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Farmers head to Rome’s Circus Maximus in latest protest

Farmers have since early January been staging small protests from Sicily to Turin, demanding action on a range of issues
Farmers have since early January been staging small protests from Sicily to Turin, demanding action on a range of issues - Copyright AFP Ivan Reyes, Ivan Reyes
Farmers have since early January been staging small protests from Sicily to Turin, demanding action on a range of issues - Copyright AFP Ivan Reyes, Ivan Reyes

More than 1,000 farmers staged a fresh protest in Rome on Thursday, including driving tractors onto the city’s ancient chariot-racing stadium as part of a weeks-long campaign echoed across European capitals.

Besides invading the Circus Maximus, a small group also gathered near Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Palazzo Chigi offices, while a delegation had earlier visited European Union offices to deliver a letter of complaint.

Different farmer groups have been staging small protests since early January from Sicily to Turin, complaining of falling incomes and rising costs.

Their grievances range from the cost of fuel to European Union environmental regulations designed to mitigate climate change but which they say are damaging their livelihoods.

“At the moment, Italians, the farmers, don’t decide,” said one of the farmers’ representatives, Pino Convertini, as they delivered a letter outlining some of their complaints to the European Commission building.

“We don’t have bargaining power over prices, we don’t have bargaining power over the political choices that are made from above. So, what should we do?”

Meloni held a roundtable on Friday with Italian farmers’ associations, where she promised to reinstate a limited tax break her hard-right government had suspended.

The European Commission has also made concessions in recent weeks under the weight of protests across the bloc ahead of European Parliament elections this summer.

These include extending an exemption on rules to leave a share of agricultural lands fallow — another demand of Italy’s farmers — and dropping plans to cut pesticide use in agriculture.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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