Greek agricultural producers and merchants who sell their produce at weekly street markets organized all across Greece, held earlier on Monday an original and “unique” demonstration outside the Greek parliamentary building in downtown Athens, throwing men’s and women’s underwear towards the building while also using them as banners.
“They even took our underwear,” said the gathered crowd, figuratively, accusing New Democracy and PASOK‘s ruling coalition government for the harsh austerity measures that are driving farmers’ markets out of business and further impoverish the Greek households solely relying on agriculture, while also handing a resolution of their positions to the Greek Agriculture Ministry.
Since Monday, April 28, Greek farmers’ markets employees are on an indefinite strike, protesting against a new outdoor commerce bill deliberated in Parliament.
Employees are opposed to several provisions of the new bill concerning the selection criteria of farmers and vendors participating in each market, the limited number of stalls attributed to each local market and the heavy fines and penalties imposed on farmers and vendors.
“The new bill is a gravestone for farmers’ markets. They want to destroy the markets and promote big supermarkets, instead. Consumers, however, won’t benefit from the bill while the prices at the farmers’ markets won’t be reduced,” the Greek Farmers’ Market Federation mentioned.
“Only farmers and vendors benefited by the existing situation are demonstrating and abetting the strike,” Greek Deputy Agriculture Minister Athanassios Skordas told journalists, while wondering why farmers who are acting illegally shouldn’t be punished.
Farmers’ markets employees are scheduled Tuesday to blockade the central vegetable market of Renti in Athens, in protest at the bill.