By Humphrey Carter
OVER 300 angry farmers from across Majorca boarded 170 tractors yesterday to head for a mass protest over rising fuel prices in Vilafranca.
The demonstration was part of a national protest organised by farmers' unions across the country to put pressure on the Ministry for Agriculture. It aims to reduce fuel prices for the agriculture sector and provide guarantees that prices will remain stable. President of the branch of the ASAJA national farmers' union in the Balearics, Biel Company said that, despite the rain, the protest was a success and praised all the farmers who took part in the rally which did not cause the expected traffic chaos. However, Company warned that yesterday's protest was just the first of many should the Ministry for Agriculture ignore the pleas of the country's furious farmers. He announced that another rally has been called for November 28 to coincide with Spanish prime Minister Jose Luís Rodríguez Zapatero's visit to Palma.
The farmers' union boss said many more of his 4.850 members are expected to take to their tractors and head for Palma to confront the Prime Minister in Palma. Company repeated the union's demands for fiscal benefits, such as the removal of fuel tax and reductions in social security along with stable fuel prices to help ease the burden on their livelihoods. Fuel bills account for between ten and 30 percent of farmers' operating costs and recent rises have hit some sectors extremely hard. Fellow famers' union Unió de Pagesos, which held a similar protest between Consell and Santa Eugenia on Friday, took further action yesterday afternoon.

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