Protesting Serbian farmers block roads

April 26, 2012 at 6:27 PM
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VOJVODINA, Serbia, April 26 (UPI) -- Serbian farmers blocked roads across the country Thursday in the second day of protests over a new agricultural subsidy system, officials say.

Tractors blocked all roads leading to Pancevo Thursday morning. Gridlock halted traffic in Vojvodina and central Serbia Wednesday, and since then, certain roads have been cleared.

The farmers are dissatisfied with the subsidies under the new system, saying the new yield-based system favors big producers over big landowners, B92 reported.

Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Dukic-Dejanovic urged farmers to cease roadblocks Wednesday, saying the subsidy issue would be solved by the new government after the May 6 elections. However, Serbian Agricultural and Trade Minister Dusan Petrovic said Thursday it was impossible to change the policy.

Petrovic said to meet the farmers' demands, all of the 250,000 households that received fuel subsidies under the new policy would be required to return them.

"The same would happen with the 170,000 households that received [$23,264] on Wednesday as an advance payment for spring sowing," he said.

Petrovic declined to tell Tanjug news agency whether there were plans to remove the protesting farmers by force, only saying the police were working on it.

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