800 Greek farmers storm Agriculture Ministry in Athens, police deploy tear gas
Police in Athens have used tear gas to disperse a rally of farmers protesting against pension austerity measures as they were pelting the Agriculture Ministry with stones. A larger protest demonstration is due to start later Friday, according to "Russia Today" news network.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s formerly left-wing government plans to raise pension contributions and taxes to deal with Greece’s budget deficit. Farmers form across the country flocked to the capital to voice their outrage at the new austerity measures.
About 800 farmers from Crete clashed with police guarding the entrance to the Agriculture Ministry. They smashed windows with stones before the police pushed them away.
"The farmers attempted to push the police in front of the ministry's entrance. The police used tear gas to stop them," a police official said.
Last week, the police and protesters clashed in front of Syntagma Square in Athens amid a general strike. Some youths threw stones and petrol bombs as officers responded with stun grenades and tear gas.
The general strike was declared as part of a larger protest movement against the pension austerity measures.
The Greek government hopes to secure the third round of an international bailout by accepting further cuts and tax hikes demanded by international creditors. The cuts to pensions would be the 11th imposed since 2010.