Taxi drivers enter fifth day of protests

Taxi drivers entered their fifth day of protests on Friday, occupying toll posts at Elefsina, Afidnes, Malgara and other parts of the national road network and allowing motorists to pass through for free, and vowed to continue their action until the government compromises on reforms aimed at opening up their sector to competition.

Meanwhile, in a sign that tolerance of their action was fading, a prosecutor in Thessaloniki ordered local police to start drawing up charge sheets against taxi drivers who have been participating in road blockades near the northern city and to arrest offenders.

Meanwhile hoteliers in Thessaloniki issued a joint appeal to protesting cabbies, asking them to use other forms of protest to express their objections to reforms and to stop harming the crucial tourism sector which Greek authorities are hoping will help extricate the country from its debt crisis. Blockades on roads outside Thessaloniki, particularly the roads leading to the city?s international airport, have dealt the tourism sector a serious blow, the hoteliers said.

On Thursday the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) called on Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes to intervene and put a stop to the blocking of ports, airports and roads that have inconvenienced thousands of tourists.

SETE called on Tentes to dispatch local prosecutors and police to break up the protests, noting that ?these activities have dealt a severe blow to tourism, the only sector of the economy fueling hopes for an exit from the crisis.?