Tens of thousands of people from all over Spain, arriving in 1,500 buses, have participated since 11:00 am this Sunday in a large demonstration in defence of the rural world in the centre of Madrid, described by its organisers as historic and passing without incident under the slogan “20M in defence of the rural world”. Farmers, agricultural organisations, irrigation communities and cooperatives from different parts of the Region of Murcia have joined the protest in the Spanish capital, where they have travelled in a hundred buses and many private vehicles.
According to data from the Government Delegation, provided by the police helicopter, the number of demonstrators exceeded 100,000, although sources from the organisers have assured that their expectations have been doubled and put the participation at 400,000 people.
The agricultural organisations COAG, UPA and ASAJA, the Spanish Hunting Federation, the breeders of fighting bulls, the agri-food cooperatives and the irrigators, as well as the coalition that several of them form in the Rural Alliance, organisers of the demonstration, have said “enough” to the Government and have asked for urgent aid to the sector to ensure its viability, after ensuring that this mobilisation will only be the beginning if they are not listened to.
Tractors, packs of hunting dogs, horses, the sound of trumpets, balloons and lots of colour accompanied this event for the countryside in the capital. The demonstration began in the Plaza de Neptuno, travelled along the Prado-Recoletos-Castellana axis and ended in the Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, in front of the headquarters of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.
The secretary general of COAG, Miguel Padilla, from Murcia, stated that they have been indispensable in the last two years to feed the population, and now they are demanding to be listened to and to be able to cope with rising prices. In principle, Padilla is calling for state intervention in energy prices, flexibility to cultivate more land and, in any case, to stop speculation.
The president of the Region of Murcia, Fernando López Miras, attended the demonstration and criticised the Spanish government for having “forgotten” the agricultural sector: “Now it has been shown more than ever that it is essential for us to be self-sufficient in some areas, especially in terms of feeding ourselves”. Lucas Jiménez, the president of the Tajo-Segura water diversion irrigators, also said, “This is a very successful protest”. The cost policy was already suffocating before the war in Ukraine, and now it is even worse. The irrigation union is not organising this demonstration, but they agree on the main concerns.