Farmers angered by hikes in taxes, gas prices and social security contributions warmed up their engines on Monday for nationwide action.
The protest action, which unions have vowed will be forceful and prolonged, started with a strong statement as dozens of tractors and pick-up trucks blocked off a section of the Patra-Corinth national highway near Aigio in the northern Peloponnese and farmers took to the streets in Zakynthos, Hania, Veria and parts of Central Greece.
In Veria in northern Greece, farmers held a motorcade in the center and parked their vehicles for a rally in front of city hall, before heading off to a key junction in Kouloura to start a blockade. Their protest was joined by taxi drivers, accountants and other disgruntled professionals.
“Today Veria is bringing down the shutters, as all the agencies and people in the primary sector protest the government’s measures and policies,” the head of the region’s farmer association, Thodoros Papaconstantinou, was quoted by ANA-MPA news agency as saying.
On the Ionian island of Zakynthos, tractors rolled into the main town in anticipation of orders for an escalation from the country’s main coordinating committee for protesting farmers.
“We held a general assembly where we decided on an initial rally and escalation over the next few days with greater public participation,” the local farmers’ association chief, Timotheos Faraos, told the ANA-MPA. “There is not other way. People need to fight for their rights, for their social security and for decent prices for their agricultural products if they want to survive.”
Farmers are also gunning their engines in Achaia in the northern Peloponnese, in Trikala and Karditsa in Central Greece, and in southern Crete, where the action has found the support of the municipal authority.