Greek Farmers Blockade Highways Over Pension Cuts


farmersGreece – Farmers protesting against planned pension system reforms on Wednesday carried out blockades across the country.

To cover a projected €600m deficit in this year’s pension budget, the government is proposing cuts to benefits and increasing employers’ contributions. Greek farmers also face an additional government measure that will double the income tax they pay.

Hundreds of farmers used tractors to stop traffic on large roads across the country and joined the second day of a 48-hour strike by fishermen that has led to ferry cancellations to the Greek islands.

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Hundreds of Larisa farmers turned out in protest in Thessaly, with a tractor convoy heading toward the pass in Tempi. Police ordered the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway closed to traffic at noon, so that the tractor convoy could reach its destination. Traffic was diverted to alternate routes.

Around 750 tractors lined up at the Greek-Bulgarian border near Promachonas.

Farmers with tractors also turned out to support a protest by fishermen in the city of Thessaloniki and protests were held in Crete, Fthiotida, the Peloponnese and other areas of the country.

Thema reported blockades around the country at:

Tempi, Thessaly – More than 1,000 tractors have closed the national highway and protests will escalate by noon on Saturday with farmers stating that the course of protests will depend on initiatives to be taken by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Laconia, Peloponnese – A blockade is being prepared by the Agricultural Association of Eastern Mani that has called its members to take to the streets and create a blockade near the village of Aigies at the Sparta-Gytheio national highway.

Argolis, eastern Peloponnese – 15 tractors and other farm vehicles with black flags rallied through the city.

Thessaloniki, Macedonia – Farmers that had blocked the Delta region with 500 tractors from early in the morning left the region by 5 p.m. on Wednesday. They moved from Delta to the toll gates at Malgara and set up a road block there and state that they will remain in the region for as long as they deem it necessary.

Kerdyllia, Seres, northern Greece – A road blockade consisting of more than 700 tractors and other farming equipment has been set up in the region blocking traffic from both directions.

Greek-Bulgarian border – Around 750 tractors lined up at the Greek-Bulgarian border near Promachonas

In Macedonia, farmers with 750 tractors threatened to block the Kerdyllia junction on the Egnatia highway “indefinitely” while those in Drama blocked the Kokkinogeia junction to Exohi.

Agricultural Development and Food Minister Vangelis Apostolou was ambushed by farmers during his visit to Komotini, northeastern Greece, where he remained trapped in a building of the Regional Unit of Rodopi for more than twelve hours while egg-wielding, stone-throwing farmers protesting outside pledged to keep the minister trapped unless he withdrew the government’s pension bill. Apostolou was finally able to leave the building following the intervention of the riot police.

More at:
Greek Reporter
Therma News
Financial Times

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