Thousands of Polish Farmers Protest in Warsaw against agricultural apartheid in European Union.

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

10 000 farmers marched in Warsaw to protest the Polish government’s failure to address their long-standing demands. After failed talks between Union leaders and the prime minister during the afternoon, farmers built an occupation camp outside the prime minister’s palace and have vowed to remain until their demands are met..

TOSHIBA CAMCORDER

The key demands of the Solidarity Union are for robust legislation to address four main concerns:

Land rights – implement regulation to prevent land-grabs by Western companies and to protect family farmers rights to land – (NB. From 2016 foreign buyers will be legally able to buy Polish land).

Legalize direct sales of farm produce – the government must take action to improve farmers’ position in the market, including the adoption of a law to facilitate direct sales of processed and unprocessed farm products (NB. Poland has the most exclusionary policies in Europe around on-farm processing of food products and direct sales, which make it impossible for family farmers to compete with bigger food companies).

Protests have been taking place across the country over the last three weeks with a range of organizations from community groups and local protest committees to regional and national unions blockading roads and government ministries in hundreds of locations. At the national level the protests are being coordinated by the farmers’ branch of the Solidarity Union. The Warsaw protest was joined by unions representing bee-keepers, coal miners and nurses who are also on strike.