Farmers convicted for 2002 highway protest

Twenty-five farmers, including two Communist Party (KKE) candidate MPs, have been sentenced to up to two years in prison for blocking a northern highway during a February 2002 protest. According to an Athens News Agency report yesterday, a court in Serres sentenced the farmers to between six months and two years in prison for their part in the protest at Kerdylia, some 95 kilometers (59 miles) east of Thessaloniki, on the national road to Kavala. The ANA did not say when the decision was passed. Among the 25 farmers were several KKE officials, including Yiannis Stefanidis and Stavros Batzelos, who are running for election in the Drama area in Sunday’s polls. A KKE statement said the trial «reveals the reactionary EU and government policy against farmers.» Protesters had been seeking higher crop prices and swift payment of subsidies.

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