170 'Protesting' Tractors Unleashed in Bulgaria's Sofia

Society | December 5, 2011, Monday // 20:55|  views

Over the week, Bulgarian farmers took on the roads thousands of machines in sign of protest against budget cuts and actions of Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov. Photo by BGNES

Only 170 tractors have been allowed to enter Bulgaria's capital Sofia as a part of the ongoing protests organized by the country's grain producers.

Starting 9 pm on Monday, the tractors were officially allowed to enter Sofia by the local municipality.

A total of 160 tractors will be placed on Sofia's Alexander Nevski square, while a further 10 will be located in front of the parliament building.

The rallies are scheduled to take place between 1 pm and 5 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The nation-wide protests of Bulgarian farmers started last week.

Each year farmers receive EU subsidy, which is determined by the size of their land. The amount slated for 2012 is over BGN 830 M. There are also BGN 110 M in the State budget for grain producers, BGN 71 M for animal keepers and BGN 73 M for tobacco growers.

Grain producers, however, demand another BGN 230 M in the national treasury. The discontent escalated after the passing in the Parliament, at first reading, the draft 2012 budget, where the amount was lower than what was promised by these BGN 230 M. A month before the October 23 local and presidential elections, the cabinet and the farming associations signed a financial frame, which included BGN 570 M for the farming sector.

The farmers accuse Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, of suffering from amnesia and discarding his own signature.

On Sunday, their representatives told the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, they now knew they would not get any more money, but will keep protesting in demanding the resignations of Djankov and Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov.

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Tags: tractors, farmers, sofia, grain producers, Simeon Djankov, Miroslav Naydenov, protests


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