Farmers reject dialogue, keep up road blocks

Farmers reject dialogue, keep up road blocks

Farmers in central Greece plan to drive their tractors around downtown Larissa on Friday, after blocking a stretch of the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway for a fourth day on Thursday and rejecting a call to talks from the government.

Speaking to the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Thursday, the head of the committee organizing farmers' protests, Rizos Maroudas, dismissed an invitation to talks from Agricultural Development Minister Stavros Arachovitis as “insincere.”

Maroudas accused the minister of suggesting that farmers were deliberately putting pressure on the government with a new set of demands even though an agreement was reached between the two sides in mid-December.

“Our demands are exactly the same and we are out on the streets because he hasn't met them,” the unionist said. “It is therefore pointless for us to engage in any such talks, simply for the sake of saying that dialogue is taking place. If they have solutions, we can discuss them once they've been announced.”

Farmers have made a string of demands from the leftist government, mainly for a reduction of production costs and a minimum guaranteed price for certain agricultural products.

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