Greece: Rebellion spreads to the farmers

Tractors block the national Athens-Thessaloniki highway in Nikea,

doug shared this with us a couple weeks ago. But the information is still interesting -- after the intense resistance of youth in Greek cities after the police killing of an anarchist youth. The involvement of broad strata in colision with the government give a sense of the depth of crisis for the Greek ruling class -- and a sense of the kinds of ripples of crisis moving across Europe.

Farmers cut Greece into three as protests intensify

ATHENS (AFP) — Jan. 26 --  Greek farmers effectively cut the country into three Monday as they blocked roads south-west of Athens in a six-day dispute with the government over the low prices for cotton, corn and wheat.

Hundreds of farmers used their tractors to block the Isthmus of Corinth, one of the two road access points to the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

Livestock farmers from Greece's Macedonia region also joined the protest demanding higher prices for their goods.

Similar protests have been taking place in the north and centre of the country since January 20, where farmers still occupy key junctions on the Athens-Thessaloniki highway and other major roads.

Border routes to Bulgaria and Turkey are also blocked and freight traffic has slowed to a trickle, with the protesters only making exceptions for perishable goods and medical emergencies.

Bulgaria's government urged the European Union to help reopen border crossings that have been shut for nearly a week by the Greek farmers.

Traffic across the border with Bulgaria has slowed to a trickle as Greek farmers have all but sealed off the three border crossings between the two countries.

In a letter to the head of the European Commission's Transport and Energy Directorate, Matthias Ruete, Bulgaria's transport ministry appealed for "urgent help to ensure at least one permanent transport corridor for Bulgarian freight and passenger vehicles travelling across Greek territory."

It also called on Brussels "to bring to the attention of the Greek authorities that the current situation infringes on the rights of other citizens of the EU and the principles of the common market.

Greek Agriculture Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said Sunday the government would honour its promise to provide a 500-million-euro (646-million-dollar) support package to the country's agricultural sector

But farmers said they already expected the aid package to be paid out and want prices adjusted product by product, region by region.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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  • Guest (entdinglichung)

    important about the farmer's movement is, that here a social group of society rebels, which in the last decades belonged to the most solid voters of the ruling ND party ... interesting articles on the webpage of the <a href="/http://www.eek.gr/default.asp?pid=6&amp;id=707" rel="nofollow">EEK</a> and on <a href="/http://libcom.org/news/cretan-farmers-land-athens-clash-riot-police-leading-wildcat-general-strike-crete-03022009" rel="nofollow">LibCom</a>

    "The cause of the peasant revolt is the collapse of the prices of agricultural products (cotton, wheat etc.) because of the world capitalist crisis and its deflationary trends. Between the Greek small farmers and the market, an oligarchy of middle men and multinational food industries is reigning, buying very cheap from the farmers and selling in very high prices to the consumers in the cities. The collapse of the prices commodities under the impact of the current world capitalist crisis opened the “scissors” between the low prices paid to the producers and the high prices (and profits) of the middle men and the food industries. Until recently the gap was filled by subsidies provided by the EU. Now, the crisis drives a drastic cut in subsidies. Furthermore, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has as a target to diminish the space occupied by agriculture in countries like Greece. While at the end of the 40s the peasantry was the majority of the Greek population, now it is less than 18 per cent and continues to shrink; the EU target for Greece is to reduce the peasantry to a 5 per cent of the working population."