Hit by Russian embargo, Polish farmers rally for compensation
More than a thousand farmers rallied outside the Polish government building in Warsaw on Thursday, demanding compensation for losses caused by a Russian embargo on their products.
They also protested against fines imposed by the European Union over exceeded milk production quotas and damage caused by wild boar to their crops.
Waving red-and-white Polish flags and posters critical of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz's centrist government, the protesting farmers placed a black coffin labelled "Agriculture" in front of the building, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.
Last week, hundreds of farmers used their tractors to temporarily blocked roads around the Polish capital in a protest called by unions.
The protests come as Poland prepares to launch a presidential election campaign ahead of the May 10 vote, followed by parliamentary elections later this year.
Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki said on Thursday that "a majority of the farmers' demands have already been met or are being met."
Poland has asked the European Commission for some 26 million euros ($30 million) in aid to compensate farmers hit by the Russian embargo on European exports.
Imposed last April in retaliation for an EU ban on Russian exports over the Ukraine conflict, the Russian embargo has hit Polish pork, apple and dairy producers.
Aside from EU countries, Russia also slapped an embargo on agricultural products from the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway.
© 2015 AFP