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Possible sudden farmer blockades at the border with Bulgaria

20 January 2016 / 15:01:35  GRReporter
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The bill for the taxation of Greek farmers is about to be tabled in parliament and they are intensifying their protest activities.

As reported by GRReporter, farmers in the region of Serres started their protests last Friday. They arranged their tractors off the main road leading to the Greek-Bulgarian border and today they may resort to roadblocks and traffic interruption. According to Pavlos Arabatzis, one of the union leaders of the farmers, there are 1,000 tractors in the region of Promachonas, "the blockade is growing each passing day and their number may exceed 2,000." In his words, he and his colleagues will remain at the border "as long as necessary", adding that they do not intend to block the road traffic.

At the same time, violent protests against the government started in Komotini, followed by clashes with police. They began when a group of farmers attempted to break into the building of the regional administration, where Minister of Agricultural Development Evangelos Apostolou presented the new draft on farmer associations. As reported by the Athens news agency AMNA, the police forces used tear gas to repel farmers.

It is worth noting that the Minister will also visit Xanthi and Kavala to present the legal text. Farmers are already protesting on the Egnatia highway at the junction near Kerdilia. Protest coordinator Yiannis Panais, a member of the Panhellenic Coordinating Committee of Farmers and Breeders pointed out, "Although the adoption of the final decision is pending, it is possible to stop traffic on the highway in both directions." He also explained that farmers would not block the parallel secondary roads, so as not to hamper traffic.

Tractors are gathering in the region of Drama and at the road junction near the village of Koulouri in the area of Imathia (northwest Greece). According to the local coordinators of the blockades, they will remain there for a long time, not excluding the possibility of traffic interruption.

 

Map of farmer blockades in northern Greece, source: seleo.gr

Farmers from the region of Larissa are gathering at the junction near Girtoni from where they will set off with their tractors to the Tembi pass. Tomorrow their colleagues from Karditsa will start their blockade on the highway Athens - Thessaloniki near the village of Nicaea. If they block the traffic there, they will actually fulfil their threat to divide Greece into two.

Farmers from the region of Fthiotida are on their way to the junction on the same highway in the region of Castro whereas those from the region of Viotia will gather with their tractors near Orchomenos.

Their colleagues from the Peloponnese are preparing similar protest blockades on the highway Patras - Pyrgos from tomorrow onwards. There will be farmer protests in the region of Epirus and on Crete too.

Protests against the government policies continue on other "fronts" as well. Port workers and seafarers went on a 48-hour strike today, which was announced by the Panhellenic federation. They are protesting against the pension reform proposed by the cabinet and in particular, against the planned merger of their insurance fund with the National Social Security Institute. Following the strike, trips on all sea routes have been suspended.

Another protest of freelancers, including lawyers, doctors, engineers and others will take place tomorrow against the increase in social security contributions provided for in the pension reform draft.

In parallel, the protest actions of the members of the Panhellenic Federation of Railway Workers continue, opposing the privatization of the Greek railways. Today and tomorrow, they will stop working from 05:00 am to 08:00 pm, from 01:00 pm to 04:00 pm and between 09:00 pm and midnight. The Athens underground will not run from Doukisis Plakentias Station to the airport in those hours either.

Tags: SocietyFarmer protestsTaxationRoadblocksPromachonasProtests against pension reformStrike of port workers
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