Farmers’ groups, mostly in the northern Greece provinces of Macedonia and Thrace, but also in agriculture-dependent Thessal, on Monday appeared ready to block major highway intersections, practically an “annual rite” that materialises in late January and February -- the least intensive period in the east Mediterranean country's agricultural sector.

The most ominous threat is related to the blocking of a major border crossing with Bulgaria (Promachonas), with dissatisfied farmers there joined by unpaid employees of a northern Greece textile mill.

Farmers’ groups this year are mostly demanding tax-free petrol for all agricultural uses and swifter payment of crop damages, particularly cotton.

Past protests have involved the stationing of large farm equipment on roadways.

Farmers arrested at Promahonas

Serres police arrested members of the independent farmers' group who crossed the riot police roadblock near the Petritsi intersection, near the Greek-Bulgarian borders.

The farmers arrested had succeeded, through detours, to cross the riot police "barricade" a short way from the Petritsi bridge and reach the Promahonas border station through Angistri.

The arrests of six farmers followed.

At the same time, tension was created between police, farmers and passing motorists, when riot police prevented the passing of all vehicles to and from the Promahonas border station, shortly before the Petritsi bridge.