Athens, February 1, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Olga Mavrou
Almost all unions in Greece participate in the general strike against the social security bill – and the farmers, who protest also against the tax bill, participate by planning to drive their tractors to Athens and block the capital of the country too.
Thursday will be a day that Greeks would not choose to go anywhere… except to get to the demonstrations that are organized in the central squares of their cities.
Public transport will be a problem, since in the general strike participate the employees and workers of trolley busses, train, metro and tram –buses will run probably only for 12 hours. There will also be a difficulty in getting to the airport, since even taxi drivers announced they participate in the strike. As far as it concerns travelling to the islands, there will be a great disruption too -seamen also strike.
In the general strike participate all unions of public and private sector, physicians, lawyers, engineers, teachers –journalists participate but on a different date, so that they cover the news for the general strike on the 4th. Policemen, firemen and coast guard also participate, but on the 5th of February.
Farmers’ mobilisations escalate: They block the custom offices in the borders
Farmers announced that they escalate their demonstrations and they deny any negotiation with the government until the general strike of the 4th of February. Today they blocked more “key spots” in the Greek roads and said they’ ll be heading for Athens on the 4th. Specifically they blocked with tractors the custom offices in the borders (both in Greek- Bulgarian and Greek – Turkish borders), though cars and buses are allowed for the moment to pass. They also prolong the blockage: from 3 or 5 hours till now, up to 12 hours from now on. They also started to block the alternative routes that were “available” , that is in many “key spots” there was a free alternative route that facilitated cars to avoid the blockage of the highways, but from today in several points farmers decided to block for a few hours even those “escape” routes.
Governmental officials try to negotiate with them and accuse them that they refuse to negotiate because they are “used” by right wing parties of the opposition. Farmers reply that the security and the taxation bills are so horrifying, that all of them, no matter whom they voted for in the elections, are united in their refusal and “only traitors might negotiate with the government on those bills”. They do not accept the bills as a starting point for the negotiations and demand that the government must instead accept their proposals as the base of the talks. They also refuse to negotiate or cooperate with any party of the Greek Parliament until all parties take a clear stance on their issue, implying that the majority of the parties are not essentially against neither the social security bill nor the heavy taxation of the farmers.