Scottish blockades suspended

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The Independent Online
Scottish farmers yesterday agreed to suspend the blockades in protest against cheap beef imports and to concentrate on political lobbying. But the blockades continued at other ports with the biggest so far organised at the port of Liverpool where farmers from Cheshire, North Wales, Shropshire and Staffordshire were joined by about 1,000 farmers who arrived from Hereford on a fleet of coaches.

Four men were charged with obstruction offences in connection with protests at Dover. Other demonstrations took place at Hull, Anglesey, Heysham in Lancashire and Portsmouth, where one woman was injured as she tried to move in front of a barrier fencing in angry farmers.

Farmers leaders urged the protesters to "keep up the pressure" on the Government as they launched a major campaign to win public sympathy for their cause.

Advertisements placed by the National Farmers' Union are due to appear in national papers today warning that the entire rural economy is at risk. Shoppers will be urged to buy British in support of UK farmers and to sign a petition calling on the Government to come up with a package of measures to alleviate the crisis. At a press briefing in London the NFU president, Sir David Naish, said the Government could end the problems "overnight" by agreeing to apply for pounds 980m aid to compensate farmers for the strong pound.

Meanwhile the Government unveiled details of its plan to ban sales of beef on the bone which comes into force on 16 December. Opponents have until 4pm on Friday to comment on the proposals which will see all bones from UK cattle aged over six months banned from the human food chain.

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