Farmers protest in Athens, but leave tractors at home


Some 2,000 disgruntled farmers arrived in Athens on Tuesday to protest tax and social security hikes, but desisted from driving their tractors and pick-up trucks into the city center as some had suggested would happen last week.

The farmers gathered at Vathis Square near Omonia around 1.30 p.m. and were marching to Parliament on Syntagma, causing major thoroughfares to be shut down in the city center.

A spokesman for the farmers, Vangelis Boutas of the Unified Federation of Karditsa Farming Collectives, said the protesters are “ready for war.”

“We invite all of the people of Athens who are suffering because of government and European Union policy to show solidarity with us,” he was quoted by the ANA-MPA news agency as saying. “The fight continues.”

Farmers from the northern Greek region of Central Macedonia did not join the Athens rally but said they will be sending a team to the capital on Wednesday for a meeting with Agriculture Minister Vangelis Apostolou and Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis with farmers’ representatives.