February 13, 2016
Update to the events explained in this article.
Farmers wielding shepherds’ staffs have clashed with riot police in central Athens as thousands headed to the Greek capital for a two-day protest against the government’s plans to impose tax rises and pension system reforms.
About 800 farmers from the island of Crete rallied outside the ministry of agriculture, throwing tomatoes as tension escalated when police prevented them from staging a symbolic occupation of the building. Clashes soon broke out, with riot police using teargas to repel protesters, who were throwing rocks and setting bins on fire.
At one point, an outnumbered riot police unit was forced to flee up a street with Cretan farmers in pursuit.
Many of the ministry’s windows were broken, while rubble from rocks and broken paving stones lay strewn outside the building. Police said the farmers also threatened to spray riot police with a pesticide used for olive trees if officers used teargas. At least four farmers were detained.