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Over 100 gather in Dome Square for ''tractor protest'' to show their support for fairer direct payments for farmers

Photo: LETA.
 RIGA, Nov 15 - About 100 people gathered to show their support for the Soviet-era tractor MTZ-80 or "Belarus" in Dome Square, which arrived in the Latvian capital from Tallinn, and will continue its journey to Lithuania, Poland and onwards to Brussels, as Baltic agriculture organizations wish to draw attention to the unequal direct European Union subsidies paid to farmer of the Baltic states.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), Agriculture Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Saeima Speaker Solvita Aboltina, as well as a small group of Saeima members also came out to show their support today.
The tractor left the Estonian capital on November 12 and in Latvia, it stopped on the way to Riga in Valmiera (northeastern Latvia). The tractor will now travel on to Lithuania, stopping in Bauska (southern Latvia) on the way.
The tractor is scheduled to arrive in Berlin on November 20.
The tractor will reach Brussels on November 22, in time for the European Council meeting and at the same time when leaders of EU states discuss the EU's budget plans for 2014-2020. A Baltic farmers joint protest meeting will also take place to demand equal competitive conditions within the EU common market.
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