Turkish Cypriot farmers on Wednesday smashed the gate of the north’s ‘transport ministry’ building, with the gate being the second in two days to be smashed in protest.

Wednesday marks the third day of farmers’ protests in the north, with the gate of the ‘prime minister’s’ office having been smashed on Tuesday.

They had initially descended on northern Nicosia on Monday, announcing an “indefinite” protest against the ‘government’s’ decision to import meat from the Netherlands and the low prices offered for products such as raw milk and livestock compared to the rising costs of production.

On Wednesday, in addition to the gate being smashed, farmers also burned tyres and bales of hay outside the ‘ministry’ building, while leaving the severed heads of various farm animals on the ground in front of it.

The farmers had elected to protest outside the ‘transport ministry’ building after ‘minister’ Erhan Arikli had the previous night promised the ‘government’ would “not take a single step back” from its current position or open itself to compromise.

“No matter how long they continue, the government has no chance of taking a step back on this issue,” he told Ada TV.

“If they think this government is going to take a step back when three or five people come and break down gates in the name of livestock farmers, they are wrong.”

Additionally, he had said the farmers’ behaviour had “closed the avenues of dialogue”.

He also seemed to insinuate hypocrisy on the part of the farmers, making reference to their “tractors worth three or five million liras” – between €86,000 and €143,000 – and told the farmers, “if you cannot win, don’t do this job, brother.

He called the farmers’ position “illogical” and also drew attention to the increased subsidies offered by the ‘government’ for lamb producers, which rose from 800TL (€22.92) to 1,100TL (€31.51) per animal last week.

“They are still unsatisfied, and they want more. So long as this attitude continues, the imports will continue,” he said.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, the north’s animal producers’ and breeders’ union chairman Mustafa Naimogullari asked, “how would [Arikli] know what sort of suffering these people are going through?”

“Who are you to start acting so rude? We bought these tractors with hard work. You are a thief! make a statement and do not criticise us for what we own,” he added, calling on Arikli to resign and saying people who vote for him should “think again”.

A total of nine people had been arrested on Monday and Tuesday, with Naimogullari saying demonstrators would “tear down all the walls” of the ‘prime minister’s’ office if they were not arrested.

Once it became clear on Tuesday an impasse had been reached between demonstrators and the authorities, Naimogullari said the police chief had said he would not release the detainees.

I told him I would make the protests worse. He said he will make more arrests. This situation is going to get worse,” he added.