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Faint protest against the stringent economic measures in Europe

30 September 2010 / 08:09:53  GRReporter
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Not more than 1500 people were at the Athens rally against the stringent economic measures, which took place across the Eurozone countries. Greek trade unions have found time to participate in the inter-European protest on September 29 this year not only by sending their official representatives in Brussels, but also by organizing a protest march in downtown Athens. And while about 100 thousand people from different countries of the old continent gathered in the Belgian capital to protest, the presence in Athens was less than expected as the city is tired of strikes and unrest.

"People and their needs are more important than the international markets," "No! to the restrictions and flexible labour arrangements", “We will not pay for your crisis!” were part of the protest slogans. Noticeable, however, was the absence of the leaders of the two largest Greek unions – Giannis Panagopoulos (President of the General Confederation of Greek Workers) and Spyros Papaspyros (Chairman of the Civil Servants’ Confederation). The faint public participation was explained with the series of protests which took place recently, including the strike of transport, medical and state rails workers which took place earlier the same day with separate protests in the Greek capital.

"Today more than ever the people had to unite and descend on the streets to show their discontent and to scare the government," a young man involved in the protest expressed his disappointment at the low attendance. The idea the Europeans to unite against the difficult economic conditions of life, however, failed to inspire the majority of Greeks to rush to the city center. Familiar slogans for workers power, work for all, higher wages and better living conditions sounded from the megaphones. However, no one suggested the precise formula to achieve this and what the future results will be. Part of the extreme left-wing supporters agitated the people to support the idea the country not to comply with the rules of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and to build its fate alone. "The Memorandum and the bankers of the IMF have no place in our country, or in our history," someone roared from the rostrum of Klatmonus Square in the capital. A minute later, the masses went to Syntagma Square in front of the parliament. The protest ended an hour later.

The chairman of the union of port workers George Georgakopoulos spoke at the rally. He said especially for GRReporter that the privatization of platform II of the port of Piraeus by the Chinese company COSCO is indicative of the future of Greece. Currently, the employees of the privatized company are working on temporary contracts; their wages are lower than the average level for the industry and they have no trade union rights. "We will not allow them to dump the market, giving wages for the standard of China, to be more competitive," said Georgakopoulos in relation to the management of the private platform on the port of Piraeus. He announced that there will be strikes in the future until their demands are fulfilled.

 

Tags: EconomyMarketsStrikesProtestsStringent economic measuresVictoria Mindova
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