Farmers set up Attica road block as minister hints at little prospect for pension concessions


Agricultural Development and Food Minister Vangelis Apostolou on Friday indicated that the government had little room for maneuver in talks on pension reform being demanded by the country's farmers.

"A dialogue from scratch on the pension issue is out of the question," he said as farmers intensified blockades across the country, using hundreds of tractors to disrupt traffic.

Blockades in northern and central Greece and the Peloponnese remained in place and farmers set up the first barricade in Attica, parking around 150 tractors along the side of Markopoulou Avenue.

Apostolou's comments came a few hours after hundreds of farmers clashed with riot police in the northern port of Thessaloniki where he was visiting the launch of an agricultural trade fair on Thursday.

Around 5,000 farmers from across the country converged outside the venue hosting the annual Agrotica farming exhibition on Thursday to protest the government's pension plan. Clashes broke out when a group of protesters broke from the crowd and tried to storm the venue, prompting the intervention of riot police who fired tear gas.