Protesting Greek farmers to return national roads with tractors

eKathimerini

eKathimerini — Greek farmers are expected to roll out their tractors onto national roads this week, as has become customary at the start of the year, protesting the government’s austerity policies.

The first blockades are expected to go up in Larissa and Trikala.

Last week the head of farmers’ groups from Karditsa, Vangelis Boutas, said producers would escalate their action.

“There is no other path than the path of resistance and unity with other working-class groups,” he said.

The blockades have become almost an annual event ignored by the government even though they sometimes last for weeks and disrupt traffic and the flow of goods out of the country.

Two years ago in February more than a dozen tractors rolled through Athens, honking horns and flashing lights outside parliament as thousands of Greek farmers thronged the capital’s main Syntagma Square to protest tax hikes and pension reforms.

Bailout lenders demanded that Greece scrap tax breaks for farmers and impose pension reforms that will lead to higher monthly contributions from the self-employed and salaried employees.

Despite the protests the legislation was approved by greek parliament.