Tension is high outside the Agricultural Development Ministry in Athens, with angry farmers to have surrounding the building demanding a meeting with the minister. Thousands of farmers have come to Athens form several parts of Greece to make their voice heard as the oppose the planned social security contribution and tax hikes.
While protesters keep arriving in the Greek capital, 2,500 farmers from Crete landed in the port of Piraeus early in the morning with the ferry. They moved to the Ministry and clashed with riot police when the latter did not allow a truck full of tomatoes to near. The farmers wanted to park the truck outside the building and give tomatoes to passersby free of charge. But police did not allow them and the tough guys form Crete fired smoke grenades against the riot policemen.
In the heat of the moment also some juicy Cretan tomatoes flew towards the riot police squads.
Unconfirmed reports claim that an elderly woman was picking the tomatoes. Probably some low-pensioner.
A little later, the farmers threw also stones against the police.
What is interesting is that also “the usual suspects wearing hoods” have apparently mixed with the farmers and are delivering clashes (10:50 am) with the riot police.
According to latest reports, hurled stones have broken some window glasses of the ministry. The use of tear gas became inevitable…
Some 20,000 farmers from 68 blockades are expected in Athens today, 17 tractors and 4 trucks have reportedly left Nikaia at 4 o’ clock in the morning and are on their way to join the big farmers’ protest outside the Greek Parliament. Greek Police has banned tractors from the city of Athens, however, there are reports that there is an agreement to allow these 21 vehicles “to parade symbolically” -so Skai TV-.
The “parade” is expected to take place around 2-3 p.m.
Many roads in the city are closed to traffic.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has invited them to join a dialogue with the government, but the farmers insist on “starting the negotiations on zero basis.”
The day is expected to turn very hot and tensed…
More videos & pictures here.
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