Farmers planning protest rally in Athens on Tuesday

A protest rally by Greek farmers throughout the country is planned in central Athens on Tuesday afternoon, taking place at Vathy Square at 13:30.

Among their main demands, as expressed by the National Roadblocks Committee is the abolition of recent increases to their social insurance contributions to the farmers’ pension fund OGA, a reduction in the minimum age of retirement, and a tax-free income allowance of 12,000 euros a year (increased by 3,000 per child.

They also demand that a “unseizable” limit of 15,000 euros, tax-free fuel, minimum guaranteed prices for farm products and haircuts for their debts.

The employees’ association at the rural development ministry has declared an Attica-wide work stoppage from noon until the end of the shift on Tuesday.

Farmers had announced their intention to hold a protest rally after last Friday’s talks with the ministry’s leadership ended in deadlock, with the ministry refusing to meet their demands.

Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday, Rural Development Minister Vangelis Apostolou again underlined that the fiscal conditions made any further financial assistance to farmers impossible, while his willingness to take measures that will lower their production costs.

Farmers throughout the country have set up protest road blocks on national highways and even closed borders in the past weeks, warning that their action will escalate if their demands are not met.