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Social protests continue

27 September 2012 / 19:09:58  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Protests and clashes marked the day after yesterday's Pan-Hellenic strike. The protest of the disabled was most tense. They gathered in Omonia Square and then, held a procession to parliament. Disabled people with and without wheelchairs and children with their parents and assistants took part in the protest.

A police cordon of riot forces members was awaiting them on the street outside parliament. They were standing in front of the two police buses, which were blocking Vassilis Sofias Avenue.

When the procession arrived, a group of representatives of different associations of disabled people entered the parliament to deliver the protest note against the new austerity measures. It is worth noting that according to sources, the allowances for the disabled will not be included in the budget cuts that are expected to be announced any time.

Like in all protests, the members of the Communist trade union PAME were separated from other demonstrators in this one too. They were shouting the familiar revolutionary slogans and at one point, they urged the members to form behind their big panel. Then, they set off towards the policemen. Blind and people in wheelchairs faced the police, where one of the officers guarding the parliament informed them that their separate delegation would not be received in parliament. Then, they began to protest and push the policemen. After 2-3 minutes, they managed to break through the police cordon and to block the entrance of the parliament.

A riot forces detachment arrived immediately. A young man started yelling at one of them, accusing him of hitting a man in a wheelchair during the clashes. There was a commotion for a while but the rest of the protest continued peacefully. Then, their leaders stated they would organize another demonstration in early October.

The protests of employees in the Ministry of Finance and tax departments who are on a 48-hour strike today and on Friday were taking place in parallel. Over 300 people gathered at Korai Square and went to the Ministry of Finance. Policemen deployed around the building did not allow them to approach and the protesters were forced to go to another building, which houses offices of the Ministry.

Their representatives met with Deputy Minister of Finance George Mavraganis and presented their demands to him, "To remove unfair taxes, to stop the closure of offices, no labour reserve regime, no more layoffs and wage cuts." The most active in this meeting were again the members of the Communist trade union PAME.

The protests started from early morning. Police trade union organizations held meetings in front of the headquarters of the three parties participating in the government coalition - New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left. They were protesting against the cuts in their salaries, which are part of the new austerity measures.

A little later, university teachers and students formed a human chain around the main building of the University of Athens. They protested against the reduced funding of higher education and other changes introduced with the framework law voted on in 2011.

The rector of the university Theodossis Pelegrinis took part in the protest too. He said that despite the importance of higher education in society, "it is often against us. It is necessary to fight, so we can continue to work normally." The present university teachers declared themselves against the expected cuts in their salaries.

Tags: SocietyProtestsDisabledPoliceUniversity teachersTax departments
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