Greek police fire again teargas to protesting famers at port

Protesting Greek farmers has blocked 11 days of travel by setting roadblocks across the country.

Greek police fire again teargas to protesting famers at port

Greek riot police fired on Tuesday teargas into protesting Greek farmers at the port of Piraeus for a second day as protesters tried to push through a police blockade.

About 500 farmers who arrived at the country's biggest port from the island of Crete on Monday were joined by more farmers who came on boats early Tuesday to protest against low produce prices and subsidies.

"Some farmers charged at police who had formed a cordon at the gates of the port and started throwing chairs, tables and other objects. Police responded by firing tear gas," said a police official who declined to be named.

Most of Greece's farming sector, which makes up roughly 5 percent of GDP, is made up of small-scale farmers who rely on subsidies to survive. Greece must seek approval from the European Union before handing out any aid.

Protesting Greek farmers has blocked 11 days of travel by setting roadblocks across the country but most gave up last week after the government pledged 500 million euros ($643 million) in aid. Blockades continue on-and-off at the border with Bulgaria.

The conservative government, clinging to a one-seat majority and sliding in opinion polls, has to balance big budget deficits with the need to offer relief as the global crisis bites.

Deputy finance and agriculture ministers met farmers' representatives late on Monday in an effort to convince them to return home, but no agreement was reached.

Some sailings mainly to and from Crete, Greece's biggest island, were disrupted. Farmers broke through fences surrounding the port and briefly blocked surrounding roads. There were no immediate injuries or arrests.

It was the second day of clashes at the port. On Monday, police fired teargas to stop farmers from taking their tractors through the Greek capital to the Agriculture Ministry.

Reuters
Last Mod: 03 Şubat 2009, 12:06
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