Greeks Rally Against Final Wave of Austerity

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Common Dreams

Greeks Rally Against Final Wave of Austerity

by
Common Dreams staff

A woman raises a Greek flag during an anti-austerity rally in front of the parliament in Athens February 19, 2012. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

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Thousands demonstrated in central Athens Sunday afternoon and evening against planned austerity measures, Greek radio reported, ahead of Monday's crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

"These cuts represent a challenge to workers, the unemployed and pensioners," Yannis Panagopoulos, the chairman of the federation of Greek trade unions, said.

Further demonstrations are planned for later Sunday on Syntagma Square, outside the parliament.

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Al Jazeera reports:

[...] "Poverty and Hunger Have No Nationality," read one banner carried by demonstrators on Syntagma square outside parliament.

"We Are Greeks, Merkel and Sarkozy Are Freaks" said another, referring to the German and French leaders.

Police said that roughly 1,500 protesters had assembled.

The latest budget cuts include a 22 per cent cut in the minimum wage, while pensions of more than $1,700 per month will be slashed by 12 per cent, further adding to the economic hardship of ordinary Greeks.

Greece was forced to make the new cuts after euro zone finance ministers earlier this month rejected the country's proposal as not going far enough. But now they are apparently ready to go ahead.

"I don't think there is a majority to go a different way because a different way is enormously arduous and costs lots and lots of money," Fekter said in a television interview.

Greece's private and public sector unions joined forces to call Sunday's protest, rejecting what they brand "unacceptable demands" set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, saying they violate workers' rights and collective agreements.

Radical leftist parties are also due to stage a second protest in Athens on Sunday afternoon.

"We are ashamed of our politicians, aren't you?" said a banner in orange, the color of a new party calling itself Creation Again.

"The measures are the worst thing that could have happened. It is outrageous. All the people are suffering. Shortly we will be asking ourselves where the bread is?" said pensioner Christos Artemis.

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Agence France-Presse reports:

"Everyone should take to the streets"
-taxicab owner Gregoris Militis
[...] ”Everyone should take to the streets,” one protester, taxicab owner Gregoris Militis, 52, told AFP. ”People aren’t taking taxis anymore except for emergencies.” Greece’s private and public sector unions joined forces to call Sunday’s protest, rejecting what they brand ”unacceptable demands” set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, saying they violate workers’ rights and collective agreements.

Radical leftist parties are also due to stage a second protest in Athens on Sunday afternoon.

”We are ashamed of our politicians, aren’t you?” said a banner in orange, the colour of a new party calling itself Creation Again.

”The measures are the worst thing that could have happened. It is outrageous. All the people are suffering. Shortly we will be asking ourselves where the bread is?” said pensioner Christos Artemis.

 

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