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article imageGreek farmers give away 55 tons of free fruit & vegetables

By Anne Sewell     Feb 7, 2013 in Food
Athens - On Wednesday farmers in Greece, while protesting high production costs, gave away tons of free fruit and vegetables to needy Greek people outside the Agriculture Ministry in Athens.
Greek farmers wanted to call attention to the desperate conditions in the crisis-hit country and gave away 55 tons of their produce to needy and hungry people.
The give-away was part of the farmers' ten-day protest against Greece's conservative-led coalition government's plans to increase taxation on agriculture. Farmers are also demanding that the government reduce the price of fuel and cut sales tax on their goods.
Chaos struck when the food stalls ran out of vegetables and fruit, which prompted several people to rush to a nearby truck. One man was pushed by the crowd trying to grab the food and fell and hurt his head. Apparently a Reuters reporter was also hit on the head with cauliflower heads, while photographing the situation.
The 55 tons of fruit and vegetables was completely gone in under two hours.
Kostas Barkas, a lawmaker from the leftist Syriza party, told Reuters, "These images make me angry. Angry for a proud people who have no food to eat, who can't afford to keep warm, who can't make ends meet."
Other Greek lawmakers said the situation showed images “of people on the brink of despair” and the sense of “sadness for a proud people who have ended up like this.”
The reality in Greece is harsh and difficult for some citizens to understand.
62-year-old Panagiota Petropoulos says in the video, "I have a pension of 530 euros and the rental is 300 euros. I can't afford anything, not even at the fruit market. Everything is expensive, prices of everything are going up while our income is going down and there are no jobs."
"It's difficult. I never imagined that I would end up here. I used to help people in need but unfortunately now there is not enough," she added.
As the country faces its sixth year of recession, with unemployment at record highs, Greece has been forced to push through harsh austerity measures, as demanded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund to avert bankruptcy.
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