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Communist protest with injured woman and vandalism in downtown Athens

16 November 2010 / 14:11:57  GRReporter
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Protests of new force began the day after the elections for mayors and governors in Greece. Non-parliamentary leftist organizations and the Communist Party raised their voice against the government policy and the memorandum and the reasons are the new measures the government will have to implement following the advice of the Troika’s expert committee, which is on a visit to Athens. Another reason for the protests are the upcoming celebrations on  November 17, which officially began.
 
Protesters wounded a woman in the area around the Athens Polytechnic under unexplained circumstances, who was immediately ambulance driven to hospital. A prosecutor was at the scene to watch for any strife between police and protesters and witnessed the incident. He immediately took the case to a speedy judicial proceedings against offenders. Later some of the protesters attacked with stones a group of policemen that were at the corner of Panepistimio Boulevard and Vukureshtiu Street. The police dispersed the vandals but in the meantime they managed to fire the bins in this area of downtown Athens.

The big demonstration of the radical left trade unionists network which departed from the Polytechnic began at 17:00 and ended around 20:00 on Syntagma Square. Some youths set bins on fire and threw objects at the banks around the boulevard where protesting students, intellectuals, families with children and people who have participated in the events in November 1973 at the Polytechnic were passing. The demonstration pointed to the celebration on November 17 for which the Minister of Citizen Protection noted that the it is a day to "celebrate the memory of the slain students, and not a day to meet with violence." There is a big demonstration in Greece on this day each year to honour the memory of those students who have struggled against the dictator regime in the country for four decades and who were killed by tanks.   

University deans on their part have asked the Ministry of Citizens Protection for a very discreet police presence in the coming days. The Polytechnic will remain closed the following days and Dean Simos Simopoulos sent for the first time an e-mail to all students calling on them to participate in the celebration on November 17.
 
The largest rally of the Communist Party of Greece, which took place in late afternoon on the first day of the week, once again brought thousands of supporters of the party in the spirit of the demonstrations. The Secretary of the Party Aleka Papariga held a 40-minute speech saying that the Memorandum is a political tool rather than an agreement for covering the debt. "This is a political alibi for introducing these radical reforms in Greece. Bankruptcy is an alibi to pass the measures. If we do not want the Troika we must get rid of the political majority of PASOK and New Democracy," said Aleka Papariga. Similar measures are being taken in all of Europe, even in Germany, which has come out of the crisis, she said and asked rhetorically how is it possible the GDP over the past 15 years to be positive and said that "there is money in the country, but ‘pockets have change’.

"Is it a waste to pay fees for your children to study, to pay for their health, is it a waste when you are forced to get loans to provide shelter for your family, is it a waste to pay expensive electricity and water charges and highway fees while wages and pensions reached their purchase value. Banks and companies are wasteful in times of prosperity and in times of crisis," said the chief of the Communist Party.

She announced her proposals for the economy and noted that the condition is to remove the government that intimidates people with bankruptcy. "Frightened people were lost from the onset!" said Papariga and urged the Greeks to turn their backs on psychological warfare. Communist leader said that Greece’s problems are all capitalist societies’ problems and gave as an example the huge debts the USA has to pay but also the economic miracle of Ireland.

"The government decreased the taxes of large companies to 20%, we want to fight and make them 45%. The government is arming to fully disorganize labour relations, we are fighting for the repeal of any kind of flexible temporary labour relations, the government freezes all allowances and in cooperation with the union of the employees in the private sector GSEE abolishes the minimum wage in the collective agreements, pensions and wages allowances. The government increased the retirement limit to 40 years and we strive to dramatically reduce the limit for retirement and for pension increases. The government wants to raise the tax on food transport, medicines and goods from 11% to 15% and even 23%. We urge to fight and to remove VAT on all consumer goods.  

The government is planning new cuts everywhere. We urge to fight, to secure decent social benefits for the unemployed, full health insurance for themselves and their families. The government proposed a new package to support the banks with 25 billion and we want to write off debts of the unemployed to the banks," said Aleka Papariga.

Supporters of the communist ideas interrupted her speech with slogans like: "Work for all, education, health, let plutocracy pay for the crisis", "Stop the Memorandum, the government, the EU and the plutocracy","Hope is here, people's front","Prosperity for the people - not the monopolies","Workers-farmers-students, united we respond to multinationals."

Tags: NewsDemonstrationsMemorandumProtestsCommunist partyCapitalism
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