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Belgian farmers clash with police during protests against EU's policies

Manure is sprayed on a street during a protest by Belgian farmers over price pressures, taxes and green regulation, on the day of an EU agriculture ministers' meeting in Brussels, March 26. (Photo by Reuters)

Belgian farmers have clashed with the police amid protest against the European Union's policies in this area, on the eve of the meeting of the bloc's agriculture ministers.

The farmers sprayed manure towards police officers on Tuesday, prompting the authorities to retaliate with water cannons and tear gas during a demonstration prior to a meeting of 27 EU agriculture ministers set to address the crisis in the industry.

The farmers expressed their discontent with what they perceive as an abundance of bureaucratic regulations, heightened environmental requirements, inexpensive imported goods, and unjust trading policies.

They blocked the streets of the Belgian capital near the EU headquarters to protest what they called extreme stoning, tough environmental measures and a flood of duty-free Ukrainian imports into Europe.

"Let's make money from our profession" read a placard mounted on a tractor that blocked the main road covered with potatoes, eggs, manure and straw.

On Tuesday, Belgian farmers drove tractors into the capital Brussels, near the EU Commission building, to protest the bloc's agricultural policy and low income, local media reported.

According to the Brussels Times two officers were injured during the farmers' clash with the police.

Farmers across Europe have been protesting for months in response to the EU's strict environmental policies, including cutting subsidies. The protesters also demanded to stop the import of cheap agricultural products from Ukraine.

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