Europe

Greek farmers step up blockades to protest austerity taxes

Farmers in northern Greece are staging sporadic highway blockades to protest austerity measures imposed as part of the country's commitments to international bailout lenders.

The farmers used tractors to block highways for several hours at multiple sites on Monday, disrupting traffic as well as a commercial transportation route to neighboring Macedonia.

Protesters briefly clashed with police and forced their way through a cordon near the Greek-Macedonian border. No arrests or injuries were reported.

Many farmers have been hit in recent weeks with higher taxes on their income, land and fuel, as the government remains under international pressure to meet ambitious budget deficit targets.

The protests started a week ago and are expected to escalate as affected residents press their demands for the austerity measures to be reversed.