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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Week-long hunger strike by Grevena prison inmates
  • [02] Patras Carnival impressive opening ceremony
  • [03] Farmer protests escalate
  • [04] Tsipras attacks gov't
  • [05] Greek Superleague results

  • [01] Week-long hunger strike by Grevena prison inmates

    The Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners on Sunday announced that 400 inmates of Grevena prison were now in the 6th day of a hunger strike they began on January 11 to protest against poor conditions in the prison.

    The group accused prison staff at Grevena of treating inmates "without any respect for their dignity and human rights".

    The prisoners complain that they are routinely denied prison leave without adequate cause, or their requests are simply ignored - an issue that has also come to the attention of the national ombudsman in a special report.

    The prison is also accused of failing to provide for the basic needs of inmates, who are forced to buy everything themselves and are often unable to do this, with sometimes tragic consequences.

    [02] Patras Carnival impressive opening ceremony

    The Patras Carnival kicked off on Saturday night with an impressive opening ceremony complete with fireworks display and the entrance of the Carnival King to the tune of the municipal band at Georgios Square in the city.

    Among the attractions were a huge helium balloon hovering above the square, from which a female acrobat scattered confetti on the crowds below, a video wall showing highlights of past carnivals, dancing and a tribute to the late Michael Jackson.

    This year's carnival season will be one of the shortest for several years because of an unusually early Easter, culminating in just one month with the grand parade on February 14.

    [03] Farmer protests escalate

    Travel in central and northern Greece continued to be beset by obstacles on Sunday, with drivers needing an average of six hours to make the journey between Athens and Lamia due to tractor blockades set up along the main north-south highway.

    At one point, farmers also blocked the old national road to Lamia and smaller roads, forcing drivers onto the single remaining road between Lamia and Thiva, where they could rejoin the national highway, going via Amfissa, the mountain village of Arachova and Livadia.

    Having negotiated the difficult roads and weather conditions along this route, motorists were then faced with yet more delays and obstacles between Amfissa and Lamia, where they were once again forced off the main route onto minor country roads and had to go through the centre of Lamia in order to get onto the highway once again.

    The same problems in reverse faced drivers heading south toward Athens, since tractors had blocked three key junctions and ruled out all possible alternative routes in between.

    In the north, meanwhile, farmers continued tractor blockades at two points along the Egnatia highway, at the Kerdyllia intersection in Serres and at the Chrysoupolis intersection in Kavala, except for a brief interval when they opened the road between Thessaloniki and Kavala so that fans could attend a soccer match between the Olympiakos Piraeus and local Kavala football clubs.

    The Egnatia highway spans northern Greece from the port of Igoumenitsa in the west to the extreme northeastern border with Turkey.

    Tractors were also continuing to gather at Strymonikos in Serres and at Triglia in Halkidiki but without disrupting traffic.

    Further south, in the prefecture of Larissa, tractors were gathering at Nikaia and at Farsala but again without obstructing the movement of vehicles.

    Not so lucky were those using the Vogatsikos intersection near Kastoria, where farmers were setting up intermittent tractor blockades at half-hour intervals.

    In areas where the highway was blocked, cars were diverted onto the older road network to get around the closed intersections.

    Meanwhile, farmers in Grevena have decided to join in the fray and began mobilisations by gathering in front of the prefecture building on Sunday. They are due to hold a further meeting on Monday morning to decide whether they will blockade the Egnatia highway intersection near Grevena.

    The farmer protests also figured high in Bulgarian news headlines, after the Bulgarian transport and interior ministries warned Bulgarians to avoid travelling by road to Greece for the next 10 days in case border crossings between the two countries were closed during farmer protests.

    Farmers in Fthiotida, to the south, are now trawling for reinforcements in the villages and expect to have additional forces for the Alamana blockade by Wednesday. They appear unconvinced by the assurances given by the government and appear determined to keep up the blockades.

    They claim that they have not received sums that were promised them and now face outstanding debts to banks and land rents.

    Among those visiting the blockades were MPs like former agriculture minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and current Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, who spoke with farmers at length about production costs and the gap in the price paid to farmers for their produce and that paid by consumers. The minister promised measures that would benefit markets and consumers.

    Deputy Finance Minister Philippos Sahinidis stressed during a visit to the farmer blockade in Alamana that the critical state of the economy left no room for any further cash support, stressing that he had personally signed for farming subsidies just before Christmas.

    Farmers countered by saying that this was money that was "theirs" and should have been paid to them and stressed that the numbers cited as agricultural benefits in the media were inflated and that such sums had never reached them.

    [04] Tsipras attacks gov't

    Attacking ruling PASOK for failing to fulfill its pre-election promises, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday stressed that there was an alternative plan for Greece's exit from the crisis and this was the one proposed by SYN and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) alliance.

    Addressing a SYN party meeting, Tsipras accused the government of submitting to the dictates of the EU and the neoliberal lobby that dominated Europe. The measures being adopted for the economy would only create a vicious circle and lead to new problems, such as a rise in unemployment, he added.

    "The medicine is worse than the disease itself. The people did not vote for [Prime Minister] George Papandreou so that he could carry out the policies announced by [former New Democracy leader] Costas Karamanlis," Tsipras stressed.

    Tsipras, who is also head of the SYRIZA Parliamentary group, also referred to internal tensions within the party alliance and stressed the need to "stop questioning all choices".

    [05] Greek Superleague results

    Panathinaikos Athens on Sunday increased its lead over second-place Olympiacos Piraeus to seven points after easily downing last-place Panthrakikos Komotini 2-0 at home, shortly before Olympiacos lost ground from a score-less tie against a feisty Kavala side away.


    PAOK Thessaloniki - Asteras Tripolis 1-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - AEK Athens 1-1

    Xanthi - Ergotelis Crete 1-0

    Atromitos Peristeri - Larissa 2-1

    Panionios Athens - Levadiakos Livadia 2-2

    PAS Yiannina - Aris Thessaloniki 0-1

    Standings (After 18 weeks)



    PAOK 37

    ARIS 31


    AEK 26


    KAVALA 24



    XANTHI 21

    IRAKLIS 19

    LARISSA 18




    Caption: Panathinaikos player Dimitris Salpingidis (R) and Panthrakikos defender Ludovic Clement fight for the ball at the match Panathinaikos - Panthrakikos on Sunday 17 January 2010 at the Olympic Stadium of Athens. ANA-MPA/GEORGE MATTHEOS

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