Dozens of Italian farmers with tractors started gathering Monday on the edge of Rome vowing a major demonstration to pressure the government to improve their working conditions.
Italy is one of a number of countries across Europe where farmers have staged weeks of demonstrations to demand lower fuel taxes, better prices for their products and an easing of EU environmental regulations that they say makes it more difficult to compete with cheaper foreign produce.
Around fifty tractors from Tuscany gathered at Via Nomentana, a main road into central Rome. Between 1,500 and 2,000 tractors are expected by Friday, Andrea Papa, co-founder of the Agricultural Renewal movement, told AFP.
The farmers are demanding a meeting with a government minister.
Around 200 tractors also gathered near a motorway in Turin.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the farmers' anger was caused by the "environmental transition" that she said hits farmers' lives.
The far-right leader regularly criticises EU regulation as an attack on Italy's agricultural interests.
But she highlighted how EU agricultural aid to Italy had increased five to eight billion euros following a renegotiation.