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Thousands of protesters called for the resignation of the government

27 November 2014 / 18:11:09  GRReporter
1889 reads

Simona Peneva

Thousands of protesters in the centre of Athens demanded the government's resignation with the argument that "there is no hope for the Greek economy with this government". The protest was organised by the largest Greek trade unions, which declared a 24-hour strike today. Employees from both the public and the private sectors joined the strike, schools and universities remained closed, hospitals were only dealing with emergency cases, planes didn't fly, ships didn't sail, city and intercity transport was paralysed throughout the country.

The protest started with a trade union rally at Klafthmonos square, then the demonstrators headed for Syntagma Square and the Parliament building. About 10,000 people joined the rally: men, women, youngsters and pensioners.

A protesting dog carrying a placard saying ‘There are no bones’. Here are some opinions from other protesters:

"This protest won't be enough, but it is a step in the right direction. We have to motivate employees and show them they must stand for their rights," says a private employee whose salary has been cut by 20%. "I put my soul into this protest. What do I mean? I want to see them go. There's no way to develop our economy with this kind of policy. We need change. Today's protest is showing them we're still here and haven't given up," says Mrs Komounou, a civil servant.

"It is a disgusting situation. We have horrible education, horrible health care, horrible civil service, everything is horrible. I am a teacher and my salary was reduced by 30%. I cannot agree with this kind of ‘economic development’. If economic development is to be achieved, it is not enough to put money in the banks; what we need is social equality," says Xanthi Karadima.

"I am unemployed at the moment. I used to work for a hospital. The state has put us on the backburner, even in our personal lives, as it is so hard to find a job, and it takes so long. If we want progress in our country, we have to organise, we need some positive outlook for tomorrow. Let us think about what will take place tomorrow. We want a boycott. Our government at the moment is a government of poverty and racism. If we want development, we have to clash with the European Union. And indeed the most important thing is debt relief," says a protester whose name is Stella. 

"This is an unprecedented situation. We have exceptionally high taxes, a reduced GDP and dwindling incomes among the population. My taxes this year amounted to €25,000. There is no way to pay them with the kind of earnings I get. Profits have slumped by 70% this year. It is as if they have put a stone on our back, and it is dragging us down. We are here to show what reality is like for us. Most of our media are only involved in window dressing, they fail to present the truth; they say everything is perfect and people are all right, but reality is rather different. I think our economy is never going to see any development again. Greece has drastically reduced its output," says Yiannis from the General Confederation of Professional Craftsmen and Small Manufacturers of Greece. "We need a change in our policy. With these kind of killer-representatives in government, we stand no chance for development," says Vassislis conversation was slashed by 60%.

"I am takin part in the protest to try and recover the life I had in the past before they took it away from me. I want to stand for my right to a better quality of life. My pension has now become less than half of what it was before. Any hopes for economic development? None," says an elderly woman who supports SYRIZA.

Illegal immigrants, protesting for several days in front of the parliament building in demand for refugee status, also joined the protest. Tomorrow at noon there will be a press conference of their representatives and human rights advocates. The protest rally was marked by a strong police presence, but there were no clashes.

 

Tags: general strike Greek unions protest against creditors immediate change of government
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