Farmers step up their nationwide protests

Farmers from northern Greece all the way down to Crete carried through with their promise to take drastic action as part of their protests against plummeting prices for crops, which they claim have led to their incomes shrinking. The vociferous and disruptive protests have prompted the government to begin drawing up plans to provide financial support for farmers. More than 500 tractors blocked the Promachonas border crossing in Serres, northern Greece, while some 100 gathered at the Exochis customs point in Drama, causing several kilometers of traffic jams mainly due to the number of trucks that had been prevented from leaving the country. There was also disruption to traffic on highways in the north of the country, as well as in central Greece, where farmers blocked the Athens-Thessaloniki national road in the Vale of Tempe, at Nikaia and at the exit for Volos. There were similar protests in Viotia, north of Athens. However, the most distinctive action was taken by farmers in Crete, where some 1,500 people took over the Nikos Kazantzakis Airport in Iraklion. The farmers blocked the runway at about 3 p.m. and forced the cancellation of 17 flights. They had not left the airport by last night. The farmers claim that their incomes have been halved since last year and want the government to step in and assist them with a raft of measures, such as the freezing of loans over the next three years that have to be repaid to ATEbank.

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