Protesting Greek farmers drive tractors to parliament

Dozens of tractors parked in front of parliament and more were set to join

By REUTERS
February 21, 2024
Greek farmers take part in a protest to demand financial aid in front of the Parliament in Athens on February 20, 2024. — AFP

ATHENS: Farmers from across Greece drove their tractors to Athens on Tuesday, stepping up weeks of protests over rising costs, foreign competition and catastrophic flooding.

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As they drove through the streets of the capital they honked their horns to cheers and waves from passersby.Dozens of tractors parked in front of parliament and more were set to join.

“Livestock farming died today,” read a banner on one tractor with a black coffin attached to its front.

The protest echoes grievances in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Italy, where farmers have staged similar demonstrations.

“No farmers, no food, no future,” a banner on a tractor in Athens read.

Greek farmers’ unions have been in negotiations with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government for weeks, but say the measures announced so far don’t go far enough to meet their concerns.

“We are coming to Athens right now to fight for a better tomorrow,” said farmer Konstantinos Katselis.

“Everything is very expensive,” he said. “Petrol, fertiliser.”

At the last toll booths on the national highway some 30 km outside the capital, farmers waved Greek flags and cheered each other on as they passed through.

Hundreds of farmers with about 150 tractors were expected to join the rally, scheduled for 1630 GMT, and try to pile pressure on the government, which has already offered discounts on power bills and a one-year extension of a tax rebate for agricultural diesel to the end of 2024.

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