Extended strike sets farmers against seamen in Crete

Serious episodes turn Heraklion Port into a battlefield

The Port of Heraklion, Crete became a battlefield when hundreds of of angry farmers attacked striking seamen on Friday with flares, setting the ticket offices of ANEK on fire.

Tension mounted at Heraklion Port early Friday evening after farmers from Ierapetra arrived with trucks full of produce that striking seamen would not allow them to load onto the docked ships for market.

The farmers argued that the extension of the seamen union’s strike and its failure to provide for an emergency ship would spell their financial ruin.

Reaching an impasse, farmers moved towards a docked ship, Blue Horizon, demanding that its crew allow their trucks to load. When denied, some farmers attempted to scale the ferry while others set off flares, throwing them at seamen on board, who responded with water.

The harbormaster of Heraklion, Dimitris Saitkis was injured lightly during the episodes and taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Ierapetra mayor Theodosius Kalantzakis sent a letter to the Prefect of Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis and the Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration of Crete, asking
that the Municipality of Ierapetra and the island of Crete be declared in a state of emergency.

Shipping Minister, Panagiotis Kouroublis called on all to keep calm and await the decision of the Greek Federation of Seamen (PNO) on Saturday, implying that the government might call off the strike.

On Thursday, the PNO decided to extend its strike until Sunday, December 10 2016, demanding a commitment by the government not to increase taxes for them as a result of new austerity measures being taken.