Anti-Austerity Protests Draw 60,000 in Athens



Anti-Austerity Protests_GreeceEnraged by more coming pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions, an estimated 60,000 people converged on the center of Athens on Feb. 21 during a 24-hour general strike that shut down services.

Ferries stayed in port, schools closed, public services weren’t operating and hospitals were on skeleton staff. Scuffles broke with police firing tear gas to disperse hooded youths throwing rocks and firebombs in the central neighborhood of Exarchia. In the city of Iraklio on the island of Crete, demonstrators overturned a squad car, Reuters reported

Beating drums and chanting “Robbers, robbers!” demonstrators marched to Parliament in the biggest anti-austerity protest so far this year in an event organized by the country’s two biggest labor unions, representing 2.5 million public and private workers.

Austerity has worsened the country’s recession, now in its sixth year, creating a record 27 percent unemployment, some 67.1 percent for those under 25. All that is in the private sector as the government has not acted for three years to reduce a hugely bloated public workforce to meet demands by international lenders to let go 150,000 employees.

The pressure seemed to be getting to the uneasy coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, as he backed off his plans to lay off 1,900 public workers. The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB)is putting up $325 billion in two bailouts to prop up the country’s economy but demanded harsh conditions in return.

“Today’s strike is a new effort to get rid of the bailout deal and those who take advantage of the people and bring only misery,” Ilias Iliopoulos, Secretary General of the ADEDY public sector union which organized the walkout with private sector union GSEE. “A social explosion is very near,” he told Reuters from a rally in a central Athens square, as police helicopters clattered overhead.

Samaras had been playing hardball with protesters, twice last month sending in riot police to break up strikes by Metro workers and seamen, but has backed off from being tough on protesting farmers who want big tax breaks.

“Greece is making a huge effort to return to growth, to see better days, and when we’re doing everything we can to attract investment, this image does nothing to help this effort,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told Greek radio.

“The strike highlights the growing gap between the plight of ordinary Greeks and the demands of Greece’s international creditors,” Martin Koehring, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, forecasting more social unrest this year, said to Reuters.

Greece secured $69 billion in bailout funds in December, ending months of uncertainty over the country’s future in the Eurozone, and analysts said this had created expectations among Greeks that things would improve for them. Workers also fear the minimum wage, already slashed 22 percent to 580 euros ($773) a month before taxes, will be cut again.

“If these expectations are not satisfied by the summer, then whatever is left of the working class will respond with more protests,” said Costas Panagopoulos, head of Alco pollsters. “I’m on the brink of going hungry. My life is misery,” said Eleni Nikolaou, 60, a civil servant who supports her unemployed brother on her reduced wage. “If this government had any dignity it would resign. I want them to leave, leave, leave.”

“The (strike) is our answer to the dead-end policies that have squeezed the life out of workers, impoverished society and plunged the economy into recession and crisis,” said the private sector union GSEE “Our struggle will continue for as long as these policies are implemented,” the statement added.

“We are on our knees. The country has been destroyed, the young people have been destroyed,” Nikos Papageorgiou, 56, a civil servant, told Reuters. “I’m outraged with the Europeans and our politicians as well. They should all go to jail.”


75 COMMENTS

  1. Leftist dominated unions shutting down our economy yet again? Hard to believe.

    I’m sure the endless work stoppages will do wonders to promote industry in Greece. Make sure to throw rocks at police and set fire to buildings.

  2. “ADEDY, representing public workers, who have a 0 percent unemployment
    rate but are protesting pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions.”

    That sums up perfectly why all these mostly unskilled leftist unionists keep striking. It has absolutely nothing to do with altruism or helping other Greeks.. It has everything to do with numero uno…. themselves.

    In practice many of our leftists constantly harm their own country out of greed and petty envy of the elite. There i no better example of this than Syriza. They frame endless lawless riots, Skopians amd illegals threatening our soverignty. and communism… communism… as  “human rights” and “democracy”. Such immense stupidity is unworthy of the name Greek.

  3. STRIKE BABY STRIKE! YOU DESERVE MORE! MORE! MORE!

    You can have children in the streets dumpster diving, old people eating dog food, families freezing from the cold, but you will NEVER take away some Greeks union entitlement mentality,

    STRIKE BABY STRIKE! 

  4. Greece is finished…Non of the political parties can handle this crisis…It’s all over and done with…The country has no future at all…

  5. Its like going to an unemployed relative and pestering them for money when you they don’t have any!  Turkey didn’t need to invade Greece, we did a good job of being self destructing idiots.

  6. Nope, they don’t need to lift a finger.  We Greeks are experts at shooting at our feet. *sigh*

    I’m so proud of our heritage….and so disgusted by my countryman. 

  7. Greece will never learn from its mistakes until Pasok and ND are thrown out of
    parliament for “high crimes” and treason against the State. Their due is soon
    coming, mark my words… They are finished after 35 years of destroying this
    beautiful country!

  8. Greece will never learn from its mistakes until Pasok and ND are thrown out of parliament for “high crimes” and treason against the State. Their due is coming soon, mark my words…

    They are finished after 35 years of destroying this beautiful country!

  9. Greece will never learn from its mistakes until Pasok and ND are thrown out of parliament for “high crimes” and treason against the State. Their due is coming soon, mark my words…
    They are finished after 35 years of destroying this beautiful country!

  10. Greece will never learn from its mistakes until Pasok and ND are thrown out of parliament for “high crimes” and treason against the State. Their due is soon coming, mark my words… They are finished after 35 years of destroying this beautiful country!

    Why has this government and the Greek Press not asking WHY Akis Tzahadsopolous is still in jail after a year waiting for trial? This is an example of the farce and fraud going on daily.

  11.  I know the feeling.

    The best way to look at is the “Greeks’ that call themselves communists and anarchists are essentially non-Greeks. For instance if you view a political gathering of ND, you’ll see lots and lots of Greek flags. When its Syriza you see lots and lots of red flags and Syriza logos.

  12.  If Greeks listen to ranting leftists like you… then yes we will indeed have learned nothing. Are you even Greek world arts? I’ve asked many times but you never answer.

  13. ALEX, keep out of this. It’s not your economy. You were outed yesterday, remember?

  14.  Why don’t you say that to the Skopians trolling this website under a wide number of handles Sherlock?

  15. You being   “Greek” that agrees with the false flag Skopian troll that claims to be a Greek supporter of  “Golden Dawn”… then doesn’t denoucing Syriza and Skopians?

    You are the “Greek” that references Skopians as “Macedonians”.

    In short, I really don’t have what clueless “Greeks” like you and Skopians that obsessively troll me on this website have to say. Say hi to your Skopian pals for me.

  16.  You are so brilliant figuring out I was using a ton of handles in the last 24 hours. Clearly it was hard to figure out with handle names like “AnotherHandle”, “yetAnotherhandle”…and even saying outright it was me.

    Obviously I was trying to trick everyone… not show what a moron “Greeks’ like you and Choralife are for agreeing with the Skopians this website constantly doing that exactly that to you (and that’s even assuming you are Greek for a moment). Keep up the good work Watson.

  17.  Why don’t you tell your Skopian pal that keeps talking about penises to ”
    “grow up” troll? Do you know many Greeks that support Golden Dawn that refuse to denounce Skopians and communist Syriza detective?

  18. Anyone want to guess which side of the political spectrum most of these union thugs that keeping our economy hostage with endless riots and strikes belong to?

    “Members of pro-communist union PAME gather during a protest in Athens, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.”

    http://www.news1130.com/2013/02/20/greece-hit-by-new-strikes-as-jobless-rate-soars-airports-ferries-public-transport-affected/

    PAME in english is acronym for All-Workers Militant Front and has 415, 000 members. It was founded by the COMMUNIST party of Greece

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Workers_Militant_Front

    Excerpt from PAME website.

    “PAME fights with no ambivalence for the Unification and Unity of the WorkingClass.
    It aims at the gathering and activating of more and more workers and
    young employees to the class-oriented, fighting path, to the path of
    conflict against capitalist forces, against the anti-peoples policies.
    It pursues common, coordinated struggle of workers in the private
    sector, the public sector and former DECO(Public Enterprises of Common
    Welfare). It pursues common struggle no matter if the workers are Greek
    on migrants. Only on this basis, the basis of class struggle, the basis
    of the fight to abolish the exploitation of man, can the Unity of the
    Working Class become stronger. The Unity, which employers’- governmental
    unions talk about, is unity in submission, in acceptance of the
    strategies of the opponents of the Working Class; it is a caricature of
    unit”
    http://www.pamehellas.gr/index.php/en/2012-10-02-15-03-11/2012-10-02-14-44-37

  19. You are just paranoid. As we all know no one would resort to using false flag handles online. (especially not someone for Vardarstan) My real name is Bulgarian Farter.  I come from a long line of proud Farters. I’m a PhD just like “Paul Johnston (who in no way whatsoever is related to another handle on Greek Reporter by the name of Worldarts).

    I swear Bulgarian Farter is my only handle on Greek Reporter. Just like “Alex Prime Minister of Greece” and Paul Johnston are their only handles on Greek Reporter.

  20. World Arts will never learn from his mistakes until thrown in jail. Ge due is soon
    coming, mark my words.. He is  finished after working to destroy my beautiful country.

  21. THE WORLDARTS EXPERIMENT IS NEARLY FINISHED. PAUL JOHNSTON…. PHD… HAS NOW ARRIVED.

  22. The whole problem is Greece should’ve reformed over 30 years ago. But she didn’t and now she’s paying a horrible price. Greece needs massive reforms, but raising taxes on a shrinking tax base makes no sense. Tackle and eliminate curruption and tax evasion, put in a flat tax system, and allow for a diverse and much larger private sector are key to Greece’s salvation. But politicians in Greece and through out the EU are all short sided pinheads with no common sense. Pasok and Syriza and all the far left idiots need dissolve into thin air and never come back. Smaller government is the key. Not government involved in everybodys lives.

  23.  PASOK and ND need to be put out of their misery!  They are all sold out politicians. 

  24. Not only do you come from a proud line of Farters, you also come from a long line of blo*w job artists.  We all know you live in San Fran Alex.

  25.  Alex are you Greek?  Have you ever lived in Greece? Why don’t you know how to speak Greek?  All of us have asked many times but you never answer….

  26.  Someone clueless calling someone else clueless doesn’t make sense.  Alex when you get an education, live in Greece, and learn to speak Greek, then you will be heard.  Until then ths mana sou to mouni palio pousti.

  27.  Sadly we represent a minority voice among Greeks. Most Greeks can only think about handouts for themselves… then rant about “corruption”.

  28. So true. We should all vote for Syriza.. who will then go on to recognize the skopians. Keep up the good work

  29. We in Golden Dawn agree with you Mr. Prime Minister. Long live communist Syriza. Long live our skopian Brothers

  30. Bobby V. your Syriza is also part of the problem.  The sad thing is that people like you and Alex really don’t understand because you have never lived here in Greece and don’t even speak Greek.

  31. Alex we want you to come to Greece and become Prime Minister of Greece.  This name is in honor of you!

  32. You are repeating yourself Skopian. Still waiting to see your anti-Skopian anti-Syriza posts Mr. Golden Dawn.

  33.  People tend to ask questions over and over when they haven’t been answered yet….

  34. Honey… have you found a job yet or are you on the Internet trolling Greeks again?

  35.  I’m so proud of you son. Keep attacking those Greeks. We obviously are the true descendents of those ancient Slavic Macedonians. Those “Turkoglu” obviously have nothing to do with them.

  36. I claim to be a a  Golden Dawn supporter… that constantly defends pro-Skopians communists in Greece  and refuses to condemn Skopians

  37.  I would just like to add….

    I am a staunch Golden Dawn supporter… that constantly defends lefitsts that support Skopians, attack those that criticize Skopians  Skopians, and  never criticize Skopians. A true Greek patriot.

    Don’t listen to that fake Greek Alex. Besides we all know a Skopian would never lie about their background or try to manipulate others with political propaganda.  I am not a Skopian. I swear its true.