Greek farmers dumped chestnuts and apples on the pavement outside an agricultural fair Saturday and promised to escalate protests after a Tuesday meeting.
The farmers were from the Thessaly region, in central Greece, and came to the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on buses to join their colleagues from the north who had come with their tractors Friday.
In recent months, similar protests have swept Europe as farmers on the continent take their grievances over inflation, foreign competition and the costs of combating climate change to the streets.
“The millions of euros that the prime minister says he is giving us to cut down on production costs are a pittance,” said Kostas Tzelas, a farmers’ federation leader from Thessaly, referring to promises of support by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The prime minister “said nothing about us losing income from the (European Union’s) Common Agricultural Policy. If he wants us to remain in Greece and not emigrate, he must solve our problems,” he added.
The farmers from Thessaly left following their protest, while those from northern Greece will remove their tractors Sunday. But they, and others from across Greece, will meet Tuesday and will likely decide to escalate their protests, including blocking highways.
Farmers have derided the government’s proposal for a meeting with Mitsotakis, calling it a photo-opportunity event.
"The last thing we care about is a meeting with the prime minister,” Tzelas said.