Greek Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who ordered the firing of thousands of public workers before their positions could be reviewed as he promised, found himself heckled and blocked from getting into his office on Sept. 16 during an angry protest.
School crossing guards, among those who were let go, occupied the entrance of the ministry demanding to see him and insisting they be rehired.
Shortly after 7 a.m., riot police rushed to the point and removed the school guards from the entrance, firing tear gas and chemical weapons at them. Three people were transferred to the hospital with respiratory problems.
The riot police intervention angered the school guards, who occupied Vasilissis Sofias Avenue. Shortly after 8 a.m., Mitsotakis attempted to enter the ministry but the crowd stopped his motorcade and booed him viciously. Mitsotakis changed direction and moved toward the Parliament. Shortly after 9 a.m. he reached the ministry, where he was booed again by the school guards.
Under orders from international lenders who want the bloated Greek workforce pared, Mitsotakis is implementing a so-called mobility scheme in which 25,000 workers will be involuntarily transferred to other positions at 75 percent of their already-reduced pay or laid off and then fired if another position can’t be found for them within eight months.
Greece has effectively ceded oversight of its budget to the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which is putting up $325 billion in two rescue loans and demanded harsh austerity measures in return. Workers have conducted hundreds of strikes and protests for more than two years, all of which have failed.