Farmers Paralyze Greek Capital with Massive Protest

ATHENS — Farmers in Greece have stepped up their protests, storming the country’s capital with tractors and farming equipment, gathering outside the nation’s parliament.

In the largest agricultural demonstration in recent memory, thousands of farmers drove colorful tractors through the streets of Athens, paralyzing traffic and then parking outside Parliament.

They are complaining of rising production costs, but the government says it has no money to spare to meet their financial demands.

Many chanted slogans and lit flares, others waved black flags, dragged out coffins and hung funeral wreaths on their vehicles, showcasing, as they put it, the plight of their dying trade.

One farmer said he drove 14 hours to be at the protest. He said the cost of production is rising and while farmers sell their products at low prices, they end up in the supermarket basket three and four times over that base price.

Police said at least 6,000 farmers and about 200 tractors stormed the Greek capital.

Their anger and frustration over rising costs echo similar concerns by farmers staging rolling strikes across the 27-nation European Union for the past few months.


In Greece, though, farmers are furious about the compensation they have yet to receive after losing livestock and crops to ferocious floods that hit the country’s farming land last year.

The center-right government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has acknowledged the plight of the farmers, granting some concessions, including substantial discounts on electricity and petrol bills.

But beyond that, the government says, budgetary constraints do not allow for more funding, aggravating an already heated showdown with the farmers.

One young cotton producer said he felt duped and cheated by the government. He said farmers will not let up. They are determined to stay until their demands are met.

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