Farmers stage "rehearsal of total blockade" in Greece

farmers at a blockade

Farmers have decided to block the "dialogue on farming" inaugurated at the Presidential Mansion in Athens by the government, and intensify their struggle.

Submitted by taxikipali on January 26, 2010

The government was hoping that at the last minute the farmers would desert their blockades and seek refuge from the snow to the warm hug of the Presidential Mansion (Zappeio) in Athens where the Ministry of Agriculture has set up a "circus of dialogue" (in the words of the farmers). Yet, at the time that only a handful of PASOK controlled syndicalists were engaging in humiliating negotiations in Athens, the farmers, having disavowed their official reps as "irrelevant", performed an exhibition of their strength, by staging what they called "a general rehearsal" of total blockade.

The "rehearsal" included bringing all national traffic north of Athens to a standstill, while also cutting off the politically sensitive Bulgarian border crossings, and even the international railway from Salonica to Sofia. At several blockades the farmers distributed free products engaging in dialogue with the immobilised drivers, explaining to them the difference between the price they get for a liter of milk and the price the drivers pay for it in the supermarket, an amazing 1200% (a thousand and two hundred percent ) difference. During the "rehearsal", farmers blocked not only the main south-north and east-west national highways but also the majority of side-streets thus causing a near complete standstill.

Nevertheless the government seems reluctant to repress the mobilisations, with the otherwise hawkish Minister of Public Order declaring that "the government insists on dialogue". A repression of the late 1990s kind (tearing the tractor tires and sabotaging of machinery by the special forces) is almost certain to create long and violent reaction on the farmers side; a symbolically harmful occasion due to the 100 years anniversary of the Kileler Uprising which abolished serfdom in Thessaly. The Uprising is officially celebrated by PASOK (its actually a symbol of its socialism), and the absence of the PM at the 100th celebrtation in early March would mark an very visible defeat of PASOK on the front of the "farming issue".

The next moves of the farmers are expected with interest, as the "circus of a dialogue" enters its second day on Tuesday. It is expected that today the farmers will move their tractors on the railway lines connecting Athens with the North, as well as re-engage in extensive blocking of the national highway system. The blockade of the port of Igoumenitsa continues, while farmers from the Messinia made their first move to join the struggle by driving their tractors to the main square of Kalamata, blockading the main Agricultural Bank premises of the province. It is estimated that the farmers' mobilisation is costing the greek state 200 million Euros this far.

Comments

taxikipali

14 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on January 26, 2010

Update: The second and final day of the boycotted government talks on agriculture came to a close with no conclusion. At the moment an estimated 5,000 tractors are blocking the highways of greece north of Athens, while intercity bus drivers protesting over the Tembi landslide have lined their buses outside the police headquarters of Salonica and at the entrances of the city of Larissa, warning of escalating their protest into blockades too.

On other updates, bourgeois media (Ethnos newspaper) have revealed that the two British arrested over the burning of the Chania Synagogue are in fact British soldiers stationed in the near-by NATO base. The two wanted Americans are marines of the US base in Souda and have sought refuge there. The US Army has refused to hand them in to the greek authorities. Regarding the arrested fascists of last weekend, 13 of the total 45 (not 44 as initially believed) have been released. All of them are underage individuals who claim to be just passing by the place, although their victims have a different opinion regarding their involvement. The Deport Racism Movement has decried the political cover offered to the arrested by LAOS the extreme-right party in parliament. An effort of a LAOS MP (son of Kostas Plevris, Greece's most notorious Holocaust denier and attache of the Greek junta to Italy in close cooperation with the failed 1970s coup and the Piazza Fontana bombing) to hold a public assembly against immigration in Heraklion Crete yesterday was cancelled due to the large numbers of demonstrators blocking the entrance to the venue. Tonight there are calls for antiracist protest marches in all major cities of Greece.

taxikipali

14 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on January 27, 2010

Update2: Talks held today between the Minister of Agriculture and herders have also collapsed. The Minister called the ad hoc committee of farmers blockades "a mess approaching in character anarchosyndicalism". More than 30 blockades continue to hamper traffic across Greece north of Athens. In Promahonas, the vital Greek-Bulgarian border crossing, the Autonomous Farmer's Association of Serres which is blocking the pass for 9 days now has announced a 48h blockade of the Salonica-Sofia railway line. The move is expected to increase EU and Bulgarian pressure on the government to move to repress the struggle. At the same time the Athens Stock Market performed a limited crash today with many stocks collapsing by nearly 10%, dampening the spirits of capitalists.

Steven.

14 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 31, 2010

firefighters march over pay, other public service workers demonstrate over proposed austerity measures:
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_30/01/2010_114496