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live Thousands are protesting against tax increases

16 October 2015 / 18:10:58  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Thousands of people have gathered in central Athens to protest while the Greek parliament is discussing the first package of measures worth 85 billion euro, which are envisaged in the third rescue programme that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras signed with creditors in August. The voting on the measures that provide for tax increases, namely of VAT, property tax, income tax, solidarity tax, as well as some extraordinary taxes, will begin at midnight.

 

"Your reports are returned as unacceptable. Hands off social security!" reads the poster of the communist union PAME. Although MPs will not vote on the pension reform tonight, the changes in it are creating discontent among the people.

A much smaller demonstration organized by the union of public workers ADEDY is taking place in parallel to the protest organized by PAME. "We want to write off the public debt", "Either the government, or we," the union activists are chanting, who are demonstrating in the central Syntagma Square.

"Collective appointments immediately. No to cuts. Class struggle until the victory," are the demands of public workers.

As expected, leader of the Popular Unity party Panagiotis Lafazanis has appeared at the demonstration. It is noted that he was a SYRIZA activist and Minister of Development in the first government of Alexis Tsipras. He left the coalition after the Prime Minister signed with creditors the third rescue programme. There ran independently in the elections on 20 September and failed to enter parliament.

No tension is accompanying the demonstration, the riot forces are surrounding the parliament building, where the debate on the new measures is currently underway.

The 66-year-old woman in the photo below, a pensioner, is among the demonstrators too. She has two unemployed sons and one grandson who is a student. "I am here because young people need to have a future. They cannot wake up in the morning not knowing what to do during the day. My grandson is an excellent student and he is coping at school very well. But I am the only one who is supporting him financially, with my pension," said the woman tearfully.

"Mr. Tsipras, the helicopter is ready. You have stabbed us badly. It was the biggest betrayal," reads the poster that the 66-year-old woman is holding.

Tags: Demonstrations in AthensTax increasesGreek parliamentAlexis TsiprasThird rescue programmeCreditors
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