The agriculture minister of Latvia has been forced to resign in the wake of growing protests by farmers, while the government faces a no-confidence vote.Minister Martins Roze announced his resignation even as the cabinet agreed a big rescue package for farmers.On Tuesday they picketed the agriculture ministry and delivered cows' heads in a coffin.Latvia has faced growing public discontent following its economy's headlong plummet from boom to bust.Until recently the Baltic nation had racked up one of the fastest growth rates in the European Union - but faced accompanying problems like rampant wage growth, a vertiginous rise in house prices and rapid inflation.In recent months, however, the economy has gone sharply into reverse, and is expected to contract by at least 5% this year."Just about every interest group blames the government for making the economic crisis worse"Mark MardellBBC Europe editorMardell: Protests rock LatviaLast month hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police in Latvia's capital, Riga.It followed a peaceful rally in which some 10,000 people accused the government of economic mismanagement and demanded new elections.Angry farmers have been demanding more state support, and on Tuesday picketed the agriculture ministry and blocked a main road into Riga.The government agreed to a farm aid package worth 27m lats (39m euros, £34m), but Martins Roze, who accused the farmers of being motivated by politics not economics, resigned.The government itself faces a vote of confidence on Wednesday.The four parties in the governing coalition, led by Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, have been beset by internal fightingThis article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation


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