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Weak protest against pension reform

03 December 2015 / 18:12:31  GRReporter
1187 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

About 14,000 people participated in the protest against the upcoming reform of the social security and pension system in Greece. As in the previous strike, the majority of protesters or more than 8,000 people were members of the union of the Communist Party of Greece PAME that traditionally holds its rallies and marches separately.

The main slogans of the protesters were, "No home in the hands of bankers" and "In a magical night, like in Argentina, we will see who gets in the helicopter first, Alexis." The latter slogan appeared and was especially popular during the protests of the discontented in the summer of 2011. Of course, then it was lacking the appeal to the current Greek Prime Minister, who, being their idol previously, has now become a traitor for the majority of today's protestors.

Among them there were doctors at public hospitals, public school teachers, municipal officials, port workers, pensioners, members of the Union of Disabled, employees of the state railway company, various ministries and state companies and services.

The members of the Popular Unity party that has formed following the disruption in SYRIZA supported the rally and the subsequent march with active participation. Led by leader Panagiotis Lafazanis, many former members of the radical left opposed the measures taken by the government in implementing the commitments under the third bailout. Although former chairwoman of parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou was missing from their ranks because of absence abroad, they expressed a firm position against the cabinet. Their followers did not fail to join the message in the slogan about the helicopter.

The group of anarchists arrived in Syntagma Square immediately after Popular Unity and started to throw "Molotov" petrol bombs at the police and they in return responded by spraying tear gas. The unrest continued for a while but there were no clashes.

Commentators point out that anarchists are restrained due to the upcoming anniversary of the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos. As GRReporter has already announced, 6,000 policemen will guard the centre of Athens on 6 December. The fears that heavy clashes and riots will mark the anniversary have increased following the call for a "Black December" by Grigoropoulos’ friend Nikos Romanos from prison.

The lack of clashes was only part of the general picture of the procession, which was not uniform and did not have the rhythm of powerful protests of the past.

Shortly after its end, it became clear that, at the forthcoming meeting of Eurogroup next Monday, Eurozone finance ministers will ask their Greek counterpart Efklidis Tsakalotos that the Greek Parliament vote by 11 December all preliminary measures that it has not passed to the present day.

According to the Greek online edition that is citing a European representative, the preliminary talks between Athens and creditors in connection with the first monitoring of the third bailout will begin in December. In his words, it is not expected to be completed before mid-February. The main issues in the negotiations will be the pension reform, the changes in the taxation of farmers and 2016 budgetary measures.

Tags: SocietyGeneral strikePension reformProtest marchAlexis TsiprasPopular UnityAnarchistsMeeting of EurogroupCreditorsThird bailout
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