An anti-austerity protest march in the Greek capital Athens turned violent Wednesday as a general strike, of which the protest was part, halted flights, ferries and public transportation across the country. Thousands joined similar anti – austerity marches across the country to protest against sancions imposed by the EU that have plunged many Greek citizens into poverty. A small group of protesters threw petrol bombs and fired flares at riot police after the marchers were halted. Police responded with tear gas.
While riot police were dealing with the violent protestors, other police officers, protesting against pay cuts and other measures imposed because of EU economic controls blocked the entrance to a Finance Ministry building.
The new measures that will be imposed beyond the end of Greeceâ€™s third bailout next year, including pension cuts and tax hikes, will only serve to strengthen opposition in Greece to continued membership of the EU and patricularly the Eurpean single currency (Eurozone) which Germany has used to shaft many of the EU’s smaller member states. The left-led coalition government agreed to the cuts as part of a deal with the countryâ€™s international creditors to release funds from its bailout. Needless to say those creditors, with the complicity of the Euronazi bureaucratic dictatorship in Brussels has shat on the Greek people to serve the interests of big finance and corporate business.
At the height of the strike action, thousands of protesters marched through central Athens toward parliament in a series of demonstrations. “No to the new looting of salaries and pensions,” civil servants union ADEDY said.
Police union members hung a giant banner off the side of Lycabettus Hill in the center of Athens, with a slogan in German and Greek reading “how much is the life of a Greek policeman worth?”
Public hospitals were functioning with emergency staff only, while public transport was disrupted, leaving many main roads gridlocked in the capital. Intercity trains were not running, and there was no subway service between Athens airport and the city. Courts were shut while lawyers and notaries public backed away from official duties, and customs and local government offices were closed.
Air traffic controllers were holding a four-hour work stoppage in the middle of the day, leading to the rescheduling or cancellation of more than 150 flights. Ferries were also tied up in port until late Friday after seamen began a four-day strike Tuesday.
Unless bailout funds are unlocked, Greece would once more struggle to meet a spike in debt repayments due this summer and face another brush with bankruptcy.
In parliament, lawmakers were debating the measures that include additional pension cuts in 2019 and higher income tax from 2020, ahead of a Thursday midnight vote.
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