FARMERS took their tractors out of the fields and onto the roads of Majorca yesterday in protest at the rising cost of fuel.
Estimates varied as to how many vehicles took part in yesterday's demonstration.
Central Government's Delegation in the Balearics put the figure at 69, while the farmers' association said that 500 took part.
According to the Government, the majority of farmers - about 20 - taking part in yesterday's demonstration were to be found on the roundabout beside the hospìtal in Inca.
The rest were to be found in the municipalities of Palma (three tractors on the Manacor road), Algaida (four vehicles on the Camino Viejo de Porreres), Consell (eight on the Camino de Montaña), Sineu (five tractors at the entrance to the town), Santa Maria Del Cami (three tractors on the Camino de Muro), Manacor (four at the entrance to the industrial estate) and Inca (three vehicles).
The day passed off peacefully though there were a couple of incidents, according to the Government.
At the motorway bridge in Inca three tractors were parked partially occupying the right hand lane without authorisation, said the Government, while seven tractors were parked without drivers on the hard shoulder of the Felanitx-Manacor road.
The farmers union, meanwhile, said there were 500 vehicles at six different locations around the island from 11am yesterday.
Mateu Morro, the President of the Unio de Pagesos, said that the demonstrations had been a success. He said that farmers were finding it increasingly difficult to bear rising costs of fuel and other products vital to their livelihood, while at the same time their incomes were falling. According to Morro, farmers are getting paid less for lambs than a year ago, while the price of almonds has decreased by 40 percent over the last three years.
Morro said farmers were calling on the Government to reduce taxes on the sale of fuel to farmers and adopt complementary financial measures to help the sector. He said that Balearic farmers would wait to see the outcome of a meeting between Government ministers and farmers groups in Madrid before deciding on further mobilizations.
The union yesterday handed over a document to the Government Delegation with its list of demands. Morro said that he was due to meet the central Government's representative in the Balearics, Ramon Socias, in the next few days.
Yesterday's protest in Majorca coincided with massive demonstrations in Madrid, where some 10'000 farmers gathered from all the autonomous communities to demand help from the Government in the face of rising fuel costs.