Hundreds of Thousands of Greek Citizens Participate in General Strike
StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece weeknights @ 6 pm Athens time. The following post is a loose transcript of the 27 September 2012 broadcast.
By greydogg and snake arbusto, 99GetSmart
– On Wednesday in Athens, hundreds of thousands of Greek citizens participated in the first general strike since the June elections. The demonstration in front of the Parliament brought an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 marchers, including members of both public- and private-sector labor unions. People of all ages and from all walks of life took part in the mostly peaceful protest; however, bitter resentment against the government-of-the-regime spilled out into the streets.
Later in the day clashes broke out between the rioting police and a few thousand protesters. The rioting police used chemical weapons and batons with intent to harm peaceful citizens who were exercising their democratic right to petition government for redress of their grievances.
A 39-year-old lawyer who took part in the protests explained, “We want a decent living and to make the government understand they made the wrong decisions.”
A 54-year-old teacher and mother of four who lives on 1,000 euros a month commented, “These tax hikes and wage cuts are killing us. We can’t take it anymore – we are bleeding. We can’t raise our children like this,”
But Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will attempt to cram another round of austerity measures through the Parliament before a European Union meeting on October 8.
Yiorgos Harisis, a unionist from the ADEDY public-sector group, told demonstrators that, “With this strike we are sending a strong message to the government and the Troika that the measures will not pass even if voted in Parliament, because the government’s days are numbered.”
– The parliamentary groups of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Independent Greeks walked out of parliament on Wednesday in a show of support for the working people, who are holding a general 24-hour strike in protest of severe austerity measures.
– Protests continued on Thursday in Athens, where a demonstration was organized to protest the cuts in social benefits and pensions for people with disabilities. In addition, protesters want the government to reopen schools for people with disabilities and protect the tax exemptions that they are currently entitled to.
About 700 people attended the protest. The crowd, including dozens in wheelchairs, gathered in Omonia Square and made their way to Syntagma Square. The protesters intended to enter parliament, but the riot police blocked the entrance of the building.
From Athens News:
Some demonstrators, including a few on wheelchairs, pushed forward and broke through the security cordon erected by the riot police.
Unsure of how to react, the police eventually allowed representatives from the protest to enter the parliament building.
Two Paralympics gold medalists, Boccia athlete Grigoris Polychronidis and his teammate Nikos Pananos were in the front line of the protest.
Asked whether he hoped the government would heed their requests, he said: “I’m not hoping anything. This is a demand.”
“When Europe sees what the government is up to they will ask them to keep their hands off the disabled,” he added.
– University students and professors formed a human chain in front of the University of Athens on Thursday, holding letters reading in ancient Greek “ Education Before People” as a symbolic protest against the latest round of austerity cuts.
– Directly after his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Yiannis Stounaras, the Greek Minister of Finance, made public statements regarding the ‘agreement’ to ‘finalize’ a new round of austerity measures.
Although it is well known that decisions concerning the details of the new austerity measures were make by the Troika in February, Stournaras continued to play his role in the Greek tragedy unfolding in government. Stounaras made shallow claims – that the current austerity package which will be implemented from 2013-2014 has been agreed upon by the coalition government-of-the-regime.
The measures must be ‘finalized’ by Friday, September 28 when the government’s team of so-called ‘financial experts’ will present the package to the euro working group.
– Greece: General Strike – 26 September 2012 – Photography by Elias Theodoropoulos @ http://99getsmart.com/?p=4984
StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece on weeknights at 6pm Athens time @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr