Monday, February 02, 2009

Greek farmers in clashes with riot police

Violent clashes between farmers and riot police followed the Greek authorities to prevent 2000 protesters from Crete from leaving the port city of Pireaus to demonstrate outside the parliament in Athens. Tear gas and pepper spray were used against protesting farmers in the docks.

Like other farmers who have blocked road junctions across the country and still are preventing traffic from entering or leaving Greece's land borders Cretan farmers are seeking government assurances that the island's producers will be included in 500 million Euro agricultural aid package. However, despite negotiations between officials from the ministry of agriculture and farmers representatives no agreement has been reached and protesters have decided not to return to Crete.

Scenes of violent clashes also enraged farmers in Crete itself and many have vowed to sail to Athens to aid their follow farmers. In addition the Greek Union of Merchant Ship Engineers has said that it will strike if riot police units are not wihdrawn from the port according to Greek media sources.

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