Despite protests, Greek PM says reforms 'not optional'

ATHENS, Greece -- Protesting farmers says they're planning to camp outside parliament and hold a 48-hour protest against planned pension reforms.

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Farmers from around 70 highway and road blockades around the country are planning to bring their protest to Athens on Friday and Saturday, in a confrontation with the leftwing government, which is struggling to implement austerity measures demanded by bailout lenders.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday rejected demands to scrap the planned pension system overhaul and start a full round of negotiations with professional groups and opposition parties.

He told a Cabinet meeting: "It is clear that this reform is not optional."



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