Greek farmers join tractor protest in front of parliament for second day

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 3:06 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek farmers honked their tractor horns in front of parliament on Wednesday after spending the night in central Athens as their protest against rising fuel and production costs stretched into a second day.

At least 8,000 farmers, beekeepers and livestock breeders joined the protest on Syntagma Square on Tuesday, echoing grievances at similar demonstrations across Europe.

Many spent the night on the square before beginning to move out on Wednesday.

“We made the move and now we are waiting for the result,” said farmer Konstantinos Kyriakopoulos, 34, from the southern Greek region of Messinia.

The farmers also say they have been hurt by climate change, with unpredictable flooding, extreme heat and wildfires making their work ever more hazardous.

They have briefly blockaded roads and border crossings for weeks while their unions have negotiated with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government for financial relief.

The government has so far offered discounts on power bills and an extension of a tax rebate for agricultural diesel to the end of 2024.

The government has said it is willing to discuss a more permanent tax rebate scheme, but that there is no chance of further concessions this year.

In India, police fired tear gas on Wednesday to scatter thousands of protesting farmers as they sought to resume a march to Delhi after rejecting a government offer on prices for their produce.

(Reporting by Louisa Gouliamaki and Stamos Proussalis; Writing by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Nick Macfie)