World

Greece: Striking farmers market vendors hand out free food, hold large rally

  • Greek farmers market vendors march during a protest in Athens, Friday, May 2, 2014, after their trading association launched an indefinite strike Monday. The market vendors are the latest professional group in Greece to protest a sweeping liberalization drive demanded by rescue creditors. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

    Greek farmers market vendors march during a protest in Athens, Friday, May 2, 2014, after their trading association launched an indefinite strike Monday. The market vendors are the latest professional group in Greece to protest a sweeping liberalization drive demanded by rescue creditors. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Greek farmers market vendors hold national flags during a protest in Athens, Friday May 2, 2014, after their trading association launched an indefinite strike Monday. The market vendors are the latest professional group in Greece to protest a sweeping liberalization drive demanded by rescue creditors. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

    Greek farmers market vendors hold national flags during a protest in Athens, Friday May 2, 2014, after their trading association launched an indefinite strike Monday. The market vendors are the latest professional group in Greece to protest a sweeping liberalization drive demanded by rescue creditors. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)  (The Associated Press)

Some 5,000 farmers' market vendors have blocked traffic in central Athens and continued giving away food as part of anti-government protests.

The vendors, who closed their street markets indefinitely this week, are the latest professional group to protest a government overhaul of market rules aimed at boosting competition in the bailed-out country. They gathered outside parliament as lawmakers debated the proposed new regulations.

Weekly farmers' markets are very popular in Greece and are found in most city neighborhoods. The strikers have staged more than a dozen handout events this week, each drawing crowds of thousands, and also distributed bags of produce at a highway toll station outside Athens.