Italian farmers protesting about red tape and cheap imports from outside the EU headed towards Rome in convoys of tractors on Monday (February 5), while their colleagues in the north led a cow through the streets of Milan.
Farmers from agricultural regions such as Tuscany headed south towards the capital, flying the Italian flag and carrying hand-written signs with slogans including "No farmer, No food".
They were expected to congregate on the outskirts of Rome pending further protests later in the week.
"We are going to Rome to seek a confrontation with our politicians to resolve our problems," said Tuscan farmer Davide Rosati.
The Italian farmers share many of the grievances expressed by their counterparts in other parts of Europe during a wave of protests over the past few weeks.
They complain that their products are being undercut by cheaper imports from areas outside the European Union such as North Africa, rising fuel costs and the impact of EU measures designed to protect the environment and counter climate change.
The protests have eased in France and Germany for now but appear to be growing in intensity in other parts of the EU. Angry farmers on Monday again blocked the Dutch-Belgian motorway border crossing between Maastricht and Liege.
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