May 15 - Free fruit and vegetables are handed out to Athens residents by street vendors staging a protest. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Hundreds of Greek residents rush to fill bags with free produce, handed out by protesting street market vendors in Athens on Wednesday. This is all part of a symbolic 24-hour protest by farmers who run the street market. The farmers are angry over Greek government plans to end the permanency of vendor permits, which could flood the market with sellers. The government says the move will create competitiveness and improve the economy. But vendors say the increased competition will eventually put an end to street markets as it will affect cheap prices. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PRESIDENT OF THE STREET MARKET VENDORS ASSOCIATION PANDELIS MOSKOS SAYING: "85 percent of consumers say that the street market is necessary, it is a staple for both for producers and consumers. We have cheaper prices than supermarkets, we provide affordable prices each day, so people are fond of them and they want them." The economic crisis in Greece has reduced many to poverty and reduced the standard of living of others, due to wage and pension cuts and increased property taxes. Street food markets are a popular tradition in Greek society. They take place every week in neighbourhoods throughout the country and many Greeks still rely on them for their fruits and vegetables.