Farmers salvage mistimed protest
BRITISH farmers claimed victory after 50 of them sought to embarrass European Union leaders at the Cardiff summit yesterday (Monday) in protests against the ban on beef exports.
Farmers organised the protest because they mistimed a 10,000-strong demonstration on Sunday when none of the 15 EU heads of states had arrived. Fifty of them jeered Prime Minister Tony Blair as he arrived for the two-day summit.
One protestor, Lawrence Harries, said it was an act of desperation to achieve an immediate lifting of the beef ban and allow free access to European markets.
But a spokesman for the Prime Minister, who also holds the rotating EU presidency, denied an embarrassment. He said Blair was sympathetic and supported legitimate peaceful protests. However he opposed action that prevented free movement of goods and services.
Meanwhile, police had to break up an overnight blockade at Fishguard, west Wales, freeing twenty lorries which arrived from Rosslare, Ireland.
- Financial Times 16/06/98 page 2