Feb. 13 - Violent confrontation erupts between farmers and police during a demonstration in central Greece on the country's national highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Greek farmers and police came to blows on Wednesday (February 13) with police firing tear gas during a protest on the country's national highway in central Greece.
Farmers from various regions parked their tractors on the side of the Athens-Lamia national highway linking the north and south of the country in a symbolic protest over economic problems in the industry.
The farmers often gather together in demonstration on the highway for short periods of time, blocking traffic, but without causing major disruptions.
In an attempt on Wednesday to close the highway, which caused a traffic build-up, clashes erupted between the farmers and riot police who tried to clear them off the highway.
About 11 farmers were reported arrested, and two police officers and three protesters were slightly injured.
Farmers are grappling with high production costs in the midst of a crisis where consumption has slumped. They want a 50 percent reduction of taxes on petrol they use for their machinery and a reduction of value added tax (VAT) on farmers equipment and supplies in order to lower production costs.
The government has been in dialogue with farmers but it has no leeway on reducing taxes as it pushes forward with reforms to reduce its deficit and meet its budget targets set under two bailouts since 2010 that total 240 billion euros (321.1 billion USD).
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