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France

French farmers stand their ground with barricades and factory controls

French farmers block the entrance of a dairy in Ancenis on 23 July 2015.
French farmers block the entrance of a dairy in Ancenis on 23 July 2015. Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Livestock farmers set up barricades and inspections of factory suppliers and slaughterhouses in several regions to demand a rise in prices. Protests have continued despite the government's announcement Tuesday to grant farmers an extension for debt repayment as part of its 600-million-euro plan.

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Hundreds of farmers have stationed their tractors on motorways as barricades in several regions in France.

A blockage was set up in the eastern city of Phalsbourg on motorway N4 connecting Nancy and Strasbourg, and on the A4 between Metz and Strasbourg, causing major traffic jams.

By inspecting refrigerated trucks they aim to spot imported meat, in the latest initiative following barricades blocking imports from Spain and Germany on Monday.

In the southwestern Pyrenées-Atlantique region, 200 farmers carried out their inspection checks of factories and slaughterhouses in the region.

These inspections have led to farmer union complaints about high percentages of imported meat.

Banners reading "Agriculture put to death" or "Prices not bonuses" hung on tractors to highlight livestock farmers' struggle to stay afloat above piles of debts, enhanced by the suffering French economy.

In addition, farmers distributed flyers with the statement "WANTED" over Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll's photo in the town of Marciac, which is hosting one of the biggest jazz festivals in France. His visit was expected Tuesday, but he did not make the trip.

Milk price negotiations still deal with the issue of overproduction.

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