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Spanish and French Farmers Block Eight Border Crossings Along the Pyrenees

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Photo: Spanish and French Farmers Block Eight Border Crossings Along the Pyrenees. Source: GettyImages
Photo: Spanish and French Farmers Block Eight Border Crossings Along the Pyrenees. Source: GettyImages

Ahead of the European Parliament elections, French and Spanish farmers are preparing to blockade border crossings along the Pyrenees today to ‘influence’ the vote and demand cheaper energy, among other things. 

Eight border crossings between Spain and France, from the Basque Country in the west to Catalonia in the east, are to be blocked from 10am on Monday for varying lengths of time, but no longer than 24 hours.

Significant disruption is expected on and around cross-border roads. In the Pyrenees-Est region, the A9 motorway will be closed on the French side towards Spain from 7am, and access to secondary roads will be closed to trucks from 6:30am, according to the prefecture, which recommends ‘postponing all travel to Spain and the border area’. 

On the Pyrenees-Atlantic side, the A63 motorway will be most affected due to blockages at the Biriat tollbooth, which resulted from the snail's pace operation that began on the A64 motorway in Briskus.

In addition to their demand for cheaper energy, the protesters are demanding mirror provisions, which would impose the same environmental standards on farmers in third countries as in Europe.   

The protest is unusual in that it was not organised by traditional farmers' unions. ‘It's not normal for us to be imposed standards that are not met on the products we import,’ explains Xabi Dalleman, one of the organisers of the ‘no labels’ campaign in the Basque Country. 

On the Spanish side, the protests are led by local platforms, most of which have been created in recent months and organised through cycles of the Russian messenger Telegram, which was recently blocked in the country by a court order. This makes the scale of the movement difficult to predict. One of the protesters, Catalonia's Revolta Pagesa (‘Peasant Uprising’), claims to be fighting ‘for the defence of the land’ and ‘for food sovereignty’.

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