UPDATE: Polish agriculture minister slams ‘political’ farmer protest
PR dla Zagranicy
Farmers from across Poland protested outside the presidential palace in Warsaw on Wednesday, demanding restrictions on food imports in a move slammed by the agriculture minister.
Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski. Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński
At least 1,000 people took part in the demonstration, some holding flags in Poland’s red-and-white national colours, state news agency PAP reported.
Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski said the protest was “a political project” and accused the farmers of “complete ignorance” of the role of national and EU authorities in agricultural policy.
The farmers demanded limits on imports, complaining of high production costs and low prices for their products, according to PAP.
"Imports are killing Polish agriculture,” said Michał Kołodziejczak, one of the leaders of the AGROunia group, which organised the protest. The demonstration had been billed by farmers as the "Siege of Warsaw."
Police cited by PAP said the protest was peaceful, but added that central Warsaw’s Krakowskie Przedmieście street was closed to traffic.
Agriculture Minister Ardanowski told reporters that the protest was “a political project to create an organisation stronger than all political parties in Poland” and one that aimed to dictate terms to the authorities.
Ardanowski added: "This is far-reaching megalomania, which results, among other things, from ignorance of agricultural management procedures, complete ignorance of the division of competences between the European Union, the EU authorities and Poland."
Farmers last month blocked roads during protests across Poland in a move criticised by the country’s ruling party.