- Title: GREECE: Anti-austerity protests set to paralyse the country
- Date: 6th May 2010
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (MAY 5, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS HANGING POSTERS IN CITY WITH SLOGANS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT MEASURES STRIKING WORKERS BELONGING TO COMMUNIST PARTY GROUP P.A.M.E. GATHERED IN CENTRAL STREET BLOCKING STREET WITH THEIR PROTEST PROTESTERS SHOUTING "THE PLUTOCRATS CAN PAY FOR THE CRISIS" AND HOLDING A BANNER READING "NO SACRIFICES FOR THE PLUTOCRATS" (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTER KOSTAS PAPADAKIS, SAYING: "The attack will continue, There will be more government measures so there must be stepped up resistance to these policies, policies that are the most anti-social that we have ever seen." (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTER LETA METHONIOY, SAYING: "We will stop these measures. Maybe not today, but tomorrow." WORKERS MARCHING DOWN ATHENS STREET WITH LARGE BANNER THAT READS: "WE WILL NOT MAKE ANY SACRIFICES FOR THE PLUTOCRATS" PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS JOINING IN MARCH PENSIONERS MARCHING IN RALLY STREET FULL OF PROTESTERS SHOP OWNER BOARDING HIS SHOP IN FEAR OF VIOLENCE RIOT POLICE ON STANDBY WITH THEIR RIOT GEAR AS PROTESTERS PASS BY RIOT POLICE FOLLOWING BEHIND PROTESTERS
- Embargoed: 21st May 2010 13:00
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA189XA3PFZGWCP37Z39WXNDJNY
- Story Text: Workers from various professions and sectors gathered in rallies on Wednesday (May 5) as part of a general strike across the country to send a message to the government over its economic program.
Protesters belonging to the Communist Labour Movement, (PAME), a workers group of the Communist party, began the first rally with a march through central Athens calling on the government to rescind tough economic measures they say will drive workers into poverty. Construction workers, public service employees, teachers, pensioners, were just some of the workers group joining in the rallies. Some protesters had also brought their children.
"The attack will continue, There will be more government measures so there must be stepped up resistance to these policies, policies that are the most anti-social that we have ever seen," said Kostas Papadakis.
"We will stop these measures. Maybe not today, but tomorrow," said another protester Leta Methoniou.
Riot police patrolled the rally, and will be scattered throughout the city in case of violence. Shop owners began boarding up their display windows in fear that protesters may get violent, as has happened in past demonstrations.
The striking Greek workers ground flights, docked ships and shut shops, paralysing the country in a major test of the government's resolve to enact tough economic austerity measures.
The strike has been organized by ADEDY and GSEE, the two main public and private workers trade unions, who between them represent some five million workers. This is the fifth strike for ADEDY and the fourth for GSEE since the government announced its economic program.
Demonstrators are protesting tax hikes and spending cuts agreed by Greece in return for a multi-billion euro aid package.
Opinion polls show increasing anger among ordinary Greeks who feel they are being made to pay for their country's debt crisis with tax increases and wage, hiring and pension freezes and cuts, while tax evasion and corruption go unpunished.
Investors are worried social opposition could jeopardize the government's efforts to push through the reforms, which Greece announced to secure a 110 billion euro EU/IMF aid package.
The level of participation will be watched closely as a test of opposition to the measures. Until now the strikes and protests have not impacted the government's determination to push through its program.
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