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Farmers clash with police in Greece

December 20, 2013
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Farmers from the island of Crete clashed with police Friday outside Greece's parliament as lawmakers prepared to vote on a new property tax that will extend the levy to farms.

Hundreds of farmers took an overnight ferry to protest in the country's capital, Athens, and were joined by farmers from the southern mainland.

They hurled oranges at riot police and battered the shields police were holding with traditional shepherds' walking sticks.

The new tax is part of measures required under Greece's international bailout agreements.

The conservative coalition government, with 154 seats in the 300-member parliament, struggled with dissent from lawmakers representing rural constituencies before submitting the law.

Panagiotis Peveretos, a farmer protest organizer, said he had met with a group of government lawmakers to discuss their grievances.

"They told us they understand our position but cannot bring down the government over this," said Peveretos, leader of the Greek Cattle Farmers' Association.

"We only have one demand: Not to tax our farms, because this is what we need to operate our business, the same way factories have machinery," he said.



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