Greek farm­ers and po­lice clash dur­ing tax protest

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

ATHENS: Po­lice fired tear gas at dozens of Greek farm­ers in Athens who pelted them with or­anges and tried to storm par­lia­ment dur­ing a protest against planned tax in­creases yes­ter­day. Greek farm­ers have long-ben­e­fited from sub­si­dies and tax breaks and have been shielded by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments in a nod to sup­port­ing agri­cul­ture and keep­ing an im­por­tant voter base. But their sta­tus as a pro­tected group has come un­der threat as part of Greece’s third bailout, prompt­ing sev­eral protests in cen­tral and north­ern Greece. Yes­ter­day, thou­sands of farm­ers ral­lied in cen­tral Syn­tagma square, wav­ing the na­tional flag and hold­ing up ban­ners which read “Hands off our land.” Clashes erupted briefly when a group tried to break past a line of po­lice in riot gear to reach par­lia­ment. Some pro­test­ers threw stun grenades and petrol bombs. “We want to keep our land and to work and live in dig­nity,” said An­to­nis Bit­sakis, a farmer from the is­land of Crete, wear­ing a tra­di­tional black head­band and hold­ing a shep­herd’s crook.“We will fight to the end.”

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