Plovdiv, Bulgaria – Traffic ground to a halt in Plovdiv as a convoy of 120 tractors and heavy equipment entered the city, disrupting normalcy and causing chaos on the roads. The protesting farmers, representing various sectors of agriculture, directed their convoy towards the State Fund “Agriculture” after opting not to block the Trakia highway as initially planned.
The unexpected influx of vehicles altered the city’s transportation schedule, forcing buses to reroute through detour paths. Earlier demonstrations had seen farmers barricading the main Karlovo-Plovdiv road, employing symbolic gestures such as setting straw bales ablaze and pouring fresh milk to symbolize the plight of Bulgarian agriculture.
Among the diverse group of protesters are grain growers, animal breeders, vegetable cultivators, and beekeepers. Their collective demands center on legislative reforms, increased sectoral support, and transparent criteria for fund allocation, with protesters emphasizing that their grievances are apolitical in nature.
Grain producer Petko Cherkezov expressed the dire financial predicament faced by many farmers, citing mounting debts and impending repossession of machinery due to financial instability. Despite the costly investment in the tractors, farmers emphasize that they were acquired through loans rather than European funds and stress the urgent need for government intervention to prevent further economic hardship.
With negotiations ongoing, protesters have issued a stern ultimatum, threatening to blockade the Trakia highway on Monday should their demands not be met by the government.