Farmers preparing to lay a two-day siege to the city of Athens

11 February 2016
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The city of Athens will be under “siege” over the next couple days, as the farmer demonstration planned for Friday escalates into a broader protest against the government’s pension reform proposal.

Aside from the farmer protest of Friday – which will be supported by public sector trade union ADEDY – lawyers, doctors and others will demonstrate outside the Ministry of Labor, while another demonstration has been scheduled for Saturday by PAME in Omonia.

The authorities have announced that no tractors will be allowed in the city, with the police planning to intercept them on the highways, should they decide to ignore the warnings. Farmers will nevertheless begin to arrive in Athens early on Friday.

Meanwhile, the farmers appear to have “expected more” from the Prime Minister’s statement on Wednesday, with Panagiotis Kalogiannis from the coordinating committee of the road block at Tempi telling the Athens-Macedonia News Agency that the PM claims he wants a dialog, but insists upon a hard line.

Mr. Kalogiannis added that the farmers are still willing to enter talks with the government, even after the Prime Minister’s statement, however the demonstration on Friday will still go ahead, a mark of respect to the struggle of their colleagues.

Similarly, the head of the coordinating committee at the Malgara road block Achilleas Kampouris argued that the Prime Minister’s statement resembled an election campaign speech and argued that the farmers will carry on escalating their protest actions until the government withdraws its pension and tax reform proposals.

The head of the nationwide farmer coordination committee Christos Gontias commented that the Prime Minister’s statement was “vague”, but noted that he is open to talks, based on his proposals, even if the government does not withdraw its pension and tax reform plans.

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