A cow that has become a symbol of Europe-wide protests against low food prices and rising costs was denied entry to St Peter’s Square on Sunday. Source: Crux.
Two farmers led the cow, named Ercolina II, toward the square for Pope Francis’ traditional midday Angelus address, but were turned away before being able to enter.
One of the farmers who led the cow down the Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue leading to St Peter’s Square, said they wanted to get the Pope’s blessing. However, there’s no evidence Pope Francis saw them, and he made no mention of the protests during his remarks after the prayer.
Convoys of farmers driving their tractors down city streets and around famed landmarks have become a familiar sight in Rome in recent days, part of agricultural protests that have broken out across Europe, including in Spain, Poland, France and Belgium.
The farmers are objecting to falling food prices and rising production costs, especially for energy, as well as EU regulations on climate change which they claim hamper their competitiveness and limit their markets.
In recent days, European governments have agreed to pump hundreds of millions of euros into the agricultural sector in an effort to ease the crisis.
Ercolina II belongs to Cristian Belloni, the owner of a cereal production company, who’s been transporting the cow across Italy as a symbol of the farmers’ cause.
Ercolina II is the daughter of another cow named Ercolina, who featured in a 1997 protest in St Peter’s Square. In that case, she was brought by dairy farmers objecting to EU limits on milk production.
On Sunday, Ercolina II wore a photo of her famous mother in St Peter’s Square around her neck.