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Lithuania: Farmers Block Highway To Protest Government

Vilnius, 21 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Lithuanian farmers today blocked a main highway and border posts in a protest against government policy and what they consider insufficient support for agriculture. Police said the demonstrators blocked the Vilnius-Klaipeda highway, a road leading to a border post between Lithuania and Latvia, and a post on the Lithuanian-Polish border.

No incidents were reported between the farmers and the police.

Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas has called on protesters to end their demonstration and to start negotiations.

The protests began on 19 May after the government said it would not comply with a parliamentary resolution to allocate an additional $47 million to support agriculture.

The protest actions were originally planned for the beginning of May but were postponed due to a European Union membership referendum in Lithuania.