Spanish farmers join protest against EU policy

STORY: The protests, which started spontaneously on Tuesday (February 6) after spilling over from other EU countries, are backed by the country's three main farmers' associations.

Dozens of tractors staged a slow-go protest by the iconic walls of central Avila while in Pamplona, northern Spain, cars were seen driving slowly on a main highway due to protesting farmers.

Farmer Jose Javier Gonzalez told Reuters the government, "forces us to plant what they want us to plant, they force us to use the herbicide that they want and apart from that we are being underpaid."

Spanish farmers have joined their peers from Germany, France, Italy and Belgium, where protests have sometimes turned violent.

Farmers across the EU claim the rules to protect the environment make them less competitive than farmers in other regions. They also say they are choked by taxes and red tape.

The protests prompted the government to distribute an additional 269 million euros ($290 million) in subsidies for as many as 140,000 farmers and for the European Commission, the EU executive, to scrap a plan to halve pesticide use in the bloc.