Despite protests, Greek PM says reforms ‘not optional’

Protesting farmers says they’re planning to camp outside parliament and hold a 48-hour protest against planned pension reforms.

Farmers from around 70 highway and road blockades around the country are planning to bring their protest to Athens on Friday and Saturday, in a confrontation with the leftwing government, which is struggling to implement austerity measures demanded by bailout lenders.

Read: 40,000 protest pension reforms as general strike grips Greece

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday rejected demands to scrap the planned pension system overhaul and start a full round of negotiations with professional groups and opposition parties.

He told a Cabinet meeting: “It is clear that this reform is not optional.”

Read: Greece enters new round of bailout talks amid pension reform unrest