Crisis: Greece, farmers giving away vegetables in protest

In Athens' central Syntagma Square outside Parliament

27 January, 10:22

Farmers giving away vegetables in protest in Athens' central Syntagma Square Farmers giving away vegetables in protest in Athens' central Syntagma Square

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS - It was a throwback to a different era. The older generation say that the pictures from Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens yesterday took them back to the Second World War and the dark days of Greece's Nazi occupation.

Thousands of Athenians formed orderly queues, some for more than half an hour, to get their hands on a plastic bag containing agricultural produce handed out free of charge by farmers. Around 25 tonnes of vegetables, onions, potatoes and carrots in particular, were handed out in less than four hours.

Those who were passing through the square were especially keen to take home basic products that, until a few months ago, they could pick up in local markets and supermarkets without a second thought for the meagre price they were paying.

Yesterday, as the Athenian newspaper Ethnos points out, around the fruit and vegetable stalls were not illegal immigrants, the homeless, the unemployed and the marginalised sections of the population who live in complete poverty, but rather normal Greek citizens, "people next door" trying to save as much as possible.

Most of those who picked up the offerings from protesters admitted that they were not doing so out of solidarity with farmers, but because the products were being handed out. Many even left their homes especially and headed for the square as soon as they saw on television, which broadcast live pictures, that farmers were distributing produce for free.

With this symbolic initiative, the farmers of Thebes decided to give out 25 tonnes of their produce as a protest, as farming products in their region have been accused of being dangerous for public health and are alleged to contain dangerous chemicals and dangerous metals found in the earth.

The farmers of Thebes staged their protest to show that their products are not dangerous. "Some people say that the products of our region contain serious remains of chrome and cause panic among the people," Vassilis Katsaras told the ANA news agency. "They are trying to destroy us economically to force us to sell our land in exchange for a piece of bread. But we are looking the people who have come here today in the eye and telling them the truth, which is that the agricultural produce from our area is genuine and safe". (ANSAmed).

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