Fresh unrest erupts at Greek protests

2013-02-20 18:31
Greece protest (Picture: AP)

Greece protest (Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Athens - Police in Athens fired tear gas at stone-throwing protestors Wednesday as thousands of Greeks walked off the job to join the debt-ridden country's first general strike this year and oppose austerity measures.

About 15 000 striking workers took part in a Communist-organised demonstration in Athens and 20 000 more joined protests organised by other unions, according to police figures.

Another 15 000 people marched in Greece's northern metropolis Thessaloniki, local authorities said.

Protesters tried to firebomb a car in Athens and threw rocks at police, who fired back tear gas, while in the city of Iraklio on the island of Crete, demonstrators overturned a squad car, police said.

In Thessaloniki, a TV crew car was torched and protesters smashed the front windows of pawn shops.

"Unpaid bills, slashed wages and pensions, boarded-up shops. Greek people cannot wait for saviours. Only by taking their fortunes into their own hands can they exit the stalemate," main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, head of the radical leftist Syriza party, told reporters.

The nationwide strike - the first general work stoppage in Greece this year - forced airport authorities to scrap or reschedule dozens of flights while hospitals operated on reduced staffing.

"People of labour must fight for as long as this disastrous policy is followed by the government under orders from [Greece's creditors]," said Yiannis Panagopoulos, chairperson of the private sector union GSEE.

"They have destroyed an entire people," he said.

Ships were to remain docked throughout the day, disrupting ferry services to the islands. And although most public transport was to run, buses and train services expected disruptions.

Doctors, lawyers and teachers took part in the protest action organised by GSEE and the public sector ADEDY.

"Everybody I know is unemployed," said Alexandra Papadatou, a 28-year-old jobless economist.

"I am fighting on the streets for this government, which passes all these measures, to fall," she told AFP.

"I am considered lucky because at least I have a salary, about €600," said Panayiotis Kolovos, a 25-year-old novice lawyer.

"This amount is probably a privilege for the majority of youth near my age. We truly marginally survive," Kolovos said.

Angered

Greece's three-party government insists there is no alternative to the harsh austerity programme demanded by the country's creditors in return for vital loans to stave of bankruptcy.

Successive cuts to salaries and pensions over the past three years have angered Greeks who have frequently taken to the streets to demonstrate their frustration.

The government has pledged to remedy some of the cuts when the economy limps back into growth next year - a prospect that had been originally forecast for this year.

Facing a sixth year of continuous recession, the heavily indebted country has been relying on international rescue packages to avoid bankruptcy and get its economy back on track.

Since 2010 the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have committed €240bn overall in rescue loans to Greece.

Auditors representing Greece's EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund creditors are expected in Athens next week to assess the progress of its programme.

Their report will determine whether Athens will receive a scheduled slice of €2.8bn from its international creditors due in February.

Among its obligations to its creditors, Greece must eliminate 25 000 civil service jobs this year, a measure set to cause further union trouble.

The government has seen its parliamentary majority erode after adopting in November a new €18.5bn round of spending cuts and other reforms by 2016.

The coalition now has 163 deputies in the 300-seat chamber.

- SAPA

Read more on:    imf  |  ecb  |  eu  |  greece  |  europe debt crisis
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Kuils River - 17:34 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Sunday Parow - 08:10 AM
    Road name: Mike Pienaar Boulevard
    WEEKENDS - ROAD CLOSED between Voortrekker Road and Tienie Meyer Drive due to roadworks (until end July)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.