Farmer blockades continue into fourth week
Promachonas border crossing closed again by protesting farmers
The farmers blockades have continued into their fourth week despite the decision on Thursday by a key farmers group to call off their blockades.
Farmer protests continued to cause problems at the Greek-Bulgarian border crossing in Promachonas on Sunday, where hardline farmers voted to once more close the border post to truck traffic after 15:00 in the afternoon.
The blockade at Promachonas is the last in Serres after the road blocks at Strymonikos and Kerdyllia dispersed on Friday morning.
Only the passage of trucks is being blocked at present, with cars and buses free to cross the border in both directions.
Earlier on Sunday, in a meeting held at Tyrnavos in Larisa at midday, farmers taking part in the 12 remaining road blocks in Thessaly and Macedonia decided to stay put until the government backed down and met their demands.
They will meet again on Monday afternoon at Nikaia.
Some new roadblocks sprung up, too. Producers in Achaia prefecture parked their tractors at the Rio toll gates on the Patras-Corinth national road, causing traffic problems.
The farmer blockades are continuing despite the decision by one of the key farmer groups, the Pan Hellenic Coordinating Committee in Veroia, on Thursday to remove their blockades.
The committee which represents farmers on 14 blockades made their announcement following three weeks of actions to protest against what they argue is a lack of government support for farmers and agriculture.
The decision tfollows an earlier decision by farmers aligned with independent farmers groups at the major crossing in Strymonikou to also abandon their blockade.
Farmer representatives met twice with the Agricultural Development Minister Katerina Batzeli without success.
The Minister made clear that a successful resolution of the issues raised by the farmers depended on the farmers and not on the government.
Batzeli called for farmers representatives to commit to an on-going process of face to face dialogue with the Greek Government rather than protests on the streets and on television.
Batzeli and Prime Minister George Papandreou have both insisted that austerity measures dictated by the European Commission leave them no scope for handouts to farmers.
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