Farmers’ blockade closes off key northern border crossing


Farmers in Evros in northern Greece on Monday extended their blockade of highways to the Greek-Turkish border crossing and customs service at Kipous, preventing cargo lorries from passing from noon to 4 p.m.

Speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA), the head of the local farmers’ association, Costas Alexandris, said that the blockade is restricted only to lorries and that passenger traffic will be allowed to cross.

Alexandris also dismissed an invitation to talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the contentious social security and tax reforms that have mobilized farmers across the country to protest, saying that there is no basis for discussion at this point.

“If we sit down with the prime minister now and the meeting fails, then what? War? Twenty-seven percent of the bill does not just concern farmers but all the sectors. It is a problem for society at large… We want talks to begin from scratch,” Alexandris told the AMNA.

Farmers have also set up blockades in Oresteiada in the northeast and are planning a symbolic protest at a local sugar factory in demand of delayed payments to sugar-beet growers.

Tractors were also out in force in Central Greece and the Peloponnese, with farmers vowing to escalate their action unless the government withdraws its reform proposals.