Greek farmers block highway as anti-austerity protests intensify

THESSALONIKI, Greece -- Farmers in northern Greece blocked traffic on the country's main highway Tuesday, intensifying nationwide protests against austerity measures demanded by bailout lenders.

See Full Article

Protest organizers said a tractor blockade on the highway linking Athens to Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, would be in effect indefinitely unless the government withdrew proposals for tax hikes and an overhaul of the pension system.

Blockades on secondary roads, used by drivers to bypass the highway, were also being stepped up.

"They are asking farmers to pay higher taxes even if they have no income ... It's impossible," said Yiannis Zacharias, a blockade organizer in northern Greece.

The new austerity measures have prompted broad protests against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' year-old leftwing government, with strikes from a range of professional groups, from lawyers to ferry workers.

Greece is expected to slip back into a mild recession in 2016, while the global sell-off in financial markets saw the value of shares on the Athens Stock Exchange sink Monday to their worst level since 1989. The exchange's main index was down a further 2.7 per cent in early afternoon trading Tuesday.

On Friday, farmers from across Greece are planning to travel to Athens, with plans to stage a three-day protest outside parliament.

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said Tsipras was willing to meet farming associations but insisted the "the negotiations cannot start from zero."

Farmers launched the tractor blockades on Jan. 20, and have since stepped up their protests along the nation's highways and at border crossings, causing long delays for drivers and truckers.

Police said Tuesday Bulgarian truck drivers used their vehicles to smash a customs boom barrier at the Greek border with Bulgaria. Four trucks crossed into Bulgaria, while a fifth truck was stopped and the driver arrested on public disturbance charges.

The conservative main opposition party called on the government to withdraw the pension overhaul plan to avoid "social upheaval."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • U.S. internet service providers get OK to sell user data, but what about Canada?

    Economic CBC News
    Privacy protections designed to prevent U.S. internet service providers from sharing or selling subscribers' personal information with third parties — without permission — were dismantled by U.S. Congress on Tuesday. It means that information about the apps American internet subscribers use, the websites they visit, and the things they purchase online — among other things — can potentially be tracked, shared, and monetized by third parties, unless those users opt out. Source
  • Marijuana producers lobby government ahead of legalization

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Several licensed marijuana producers have penned a letter to Ottawa, urging the federal government to allow them to brand their products and provide medical cannabis on a tax-free basis. The seven producers - Tilray, Tweed, Mettrum, CannTrust, Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, RedeCan Pharm and Delta 9 Bio-Tech - are lobbying the government ahead of the week of April 10, when legislation legalizing recreational use of the drug is expected to be introduced. Source
  • Asian stocks lower after Wall Street falters

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG - Asian stocks are drifting lower on Thursday after a lacklustre performance on Wall Street. KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.3 per cent to 19,167.86 and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.3 per cent to 2,161.05. Source
  • B.C. envoy says the window is open slightly for softwood lumber deal with U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia's softwood trade envoy says there's a slight opportunity to quickly negotiate a new lumber agreement between Canada and the United States, but if a deal can't be reached by the summer or fall it could mean a lengthy fight. Source
  • Lululemon shares drop after weak outlook

    Economic CBC News
    Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. fell sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday after the athletic-inspired sportswear company delivered a weak outlook for the current quarter. The Vancouver-based company says it earned $136.1 million US, or 99 cents per share, for the three months that ended Jan. Source
  • Cenovus Energy buying most of ConocoPhillips's Canadian assets for $17.7B

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) announced Wednesday it will spend $17.7 billion to acquire most of the Canadian assets of ConocoPhillips, making the Houston-based company the latest international player to reduce its exposure to the oilsands. Source
  • Cenovus Energy buying most of ConocoPhillips' Canadian assets for $17.7B

    Economic CBC News
    Cenovus Energy of Calgary says it will spend $17.7 billion to acquire most of the Canadian assets of ConocoPhillips, making the Houston-based company the latest international player to exit the oilsands. Cenovus CEO Brian Ferguson is calling it a "transformational acquisition. Source
  • Canadian coal production hit three-decade low last year as demand wanes

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- The National Energy Board says Canadian coal production dropped to a three-decade low last year as demand waned. Production came in at 60.4 million tonnes, a 12 per cent decline since 2013, and well off the peak of about 79 million tonnes reached in 1997, the NEB said Wednesday. Source
  • Etihad Airways responds to laptop ban with free iPad and Wi-Fi for 1st class

    Economic CBC News
    One Middle Eastern airline targeted by new U.S. rules banning computers on certain flights has responded by offering first and business class passengers complimentary use of a tablet computer with internet access while on board. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways made the announcement on Wednesday, noting that so-called Premium passengers will be welcome to use the service as of Monday. Source
  • Sask. premier invites Calgary energy companies to move to Saskatchewan

    Economic CBC News
    Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is taking a turf war with Alberta to its economic heart, inviting energy companies based in Calgary to move their headquarters to his province. In a letter to Whitecap Resources, Wall offers to subsidize relocation costs, trim taxes and royalties and help find space in unused government buildings if the oil and gas firm moves to Saskatchewan. Source