February 7, Bulgaria -Second day of farmers' protests: Blockades on main roads in the country


Feb 7, 2024. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

For the second day in a row, protesting farmers blocked key locations across the country. The roadblocks will be extended by another hour tomorrow.


Today, February 7, the approaches to the Danube Bridge 2 were blocked again, and tomorrow, the protesting farmers will lock traffic on Trakia motorway and the main road to Greece.


The farmers say they are facing bankruptcy and will not survive without financial help.


They spilled a tonne and a half of cow and goat milk was spilled at the roundabout on the Danube Bridge near Russe. In addition to the blockade of the border crossing, there was a protest near the town of Byala and on the Russe-Silistra road.


There was tension at the protest near Plovdiv. The protesters blocked the emergency lane of the Trakia motorway in the direction of Sofia. Despite the police cordons, the farmers reached the motorway and over 120 tractors entered Plovdiv.


"You can see that the tension is very high, these people are all extremely unhappy. We need to be heard, to be understood in the quickest way," said Lyudmil Rabotov, chairman of the Union of Grain Producers - Plovdiv.


Today, the road to Danube Bridge 2 was blocked for 8 hours. Protesters say they will be on the road every day until a solution to their problems is reached.


"We have stood right on the border to be sympathetic with the protests in Romania, in Europe. That's why we are not at the entrance of Vidin, but we are at the entrance-exit road of the Danube Bridge 2, where lorries pass," said the chairman of the Union of Grain Producers in Vidin, Zhechko Andreynski.


"The industry is heading towards passing away," said Alexander Alexandrov, a grain grower.


In Burgas region there were blockades at 4 junctions. The Trakia motorway was not closed, but the approaches to it were blocked.


This is our second day here, we can stay 20 days. We are not tired, each of us had a night shift in the tractor, so we can stay here around the clock," said Danail Ivanov, a grain farmer.


Heavy farming machinery was deployed on four road sections in Varna district.


"I do not get subsidies, nevertheless they still come for inspections, and I get sanctions," Yordan Mitev, a livestock farmer said.


"The bureaucracy is huge, we are told what pesticides to spray with, not to plough until February, or not to cultivate because there is 10% slope for instance, not to fertilise near canals," said Emil Kostadinov, a grain farmer.


More than 100 farmers from Pazardzhik region came out to protest. Tractors blocked the access to the Trakia motorway near the village of Saraya. Today, livestock breeders also joined the protest in addition to vegetable growers, greenhouse growers, grain growers and beekeepers.


Protesters in Veliko Tarnovo closed the main road Sofia - Varna for more than three hours. They set fire to wool and straw, and dairy farmers spilled dozens of litres of milk.


"My livestock farm is 800 metres from the dairy in Elena and lorries carrying Ukrainian milk come there every day. I don't know how we can sell our milk' explained Milena Raeva, a livestock farmer.


"We want the resignation of the minister - he had time, he had no desire," said Ivan Atanaschev, a fruit grower and beekeeper.


A herd of goats blocked the main road between Petrich and Melnik for hours.


Farmers closed traffic at three points in Dobrich district. They expressed their disagreement with the financial conditions set by the government.


"Have you heard any of the government officials in Europe demanding that farmers prove a loss? Only we in Bulgaria will again look for a way to influence the whole sector," said Dragomir Uzunov, a grain farmer.


"They should not set people against us! In Dobrudzha we the farmers are the people for everything. We provide jobs, we provide the rents for the people, we take care of everything!", stressed Valentin Vassilev, grain farmer.


The main demands of the farmers from Pernik are to reduce the administrative burden on them and not to be at a loss in the sales price of different types of crops. They blocked traffic at the roundabout today and tomorrow they will be joined by their colleagues from the region.


When you calculate 350 kg per decare, and you have given 180 BGN for the cost of this decare, you can calculate for yourself what we are actually getting and how much the losses are. The loss is around BGN 80 per decare.


Montana - Lom road was blocked for three hours, as well as the main road E-79 to Vidin. Kilometres-long queues formed.