Greek Gov’t on the Ropes as Farmers Show Anger

56b14-agrotes-kinitopoiiseisMore than 15,000 tractors are lined up along central points of Greece’s national highway system with thousands of farmers taking it to the streets asking the government to withdraw the pension fund plan.

Farmers all over Greece have made symbolic roadblocks in all national thoroughfares and threaten to intensify their actions during the weekend. Attica farmers are not participating yet but they will start demonstrating on Monday.

On Friday afternoon, there were at least 49 blockades while more are planned for the coming hours. The biggest block is at Nikaia of the Larissa prefecture, with 3,000 tractors blocking the national highway since Thursday afternoon. The smaller block is at Kilkis, in northern Greece, with 300 tractors forming blockades.

On Friday night, farmers unions will convene to decide whether they will completely block the highways or not.

The central points of the blocks are at Tempi and Kastro, at the Kastanies and Kipi customs points, at Promahonas and Farsala. Later on they will block Malgara and Kerdilia.

Panhellenic Union of New Farmers general secretary Stelios Voyiatzis said to protothema.gr: “A new farmer starting will have an income of 1,000-1,500 euros and he will have to pay about as much in security contributions and taxes.”

“Overall, the government is pushing for measures that will cost 75 percent of the total income in contributions and taxes. If a farmer makes 5,000 euros per month and pays 4,000 euros in security contributions and taxes, how can he live? We will not stop fighting and we’ll do whatever it takes. We’ll harden our stance in the next days,” he said.

“If the government doesn’t understand and withdraw the draft bill, our next step will be to move to Athens en masse on our tractors. We will completely block some roads. Our entrance in Athens will be the final blow, and if they don’t withdraw the measure we will return to the roadblocks. We will not stop fighting,” Voyiatzis added.