Tensions in Athens Escalate as Farmers, Police ClashSoutheast Europe | February 12, 2016, Friday // 12:51| views
Farmers clash with riot policemen outside the Agriculture Ministry in Athens, Greece, 12 February 2016. Photo: EPA
Tensions in the Greek capital escalated on Friday as protesting farmers and police clashed in central Athens.
The police fired tear gas to disperse the farmers who were throwing stones at the building of the agriculture ministry.
Hundreds of farmers from all over Greece are expected to gather in the capital for a large-scale protest on Friday and Saturday.
Around 800 farmers from Crete clashed with police guarding the entrance to the agriculture ministry, daily Kathimerini informs.
Media reports have suggested that farmers will attempt to place tractors on Syntagma square in downtown Athens, with authorities having expressed readiness to prevent this from happening.
Greek farmers have been protesting in the past weeks against the planned social security reforms which foresee increases of tax and pension contributions.
They have staged blockades on border checkpoints with neighbouring countries and on main motorways and roads in the interior of the country.
The checkpoints along the Bulgarian-Greek border have been heavily affected by the blockades, with disruptions to traffic set to continue on Friday.