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Mass rallies, but weak protests on Syntagma Square

30 September 2011 / 08:09:33  GRReporter
3218 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova


Again, the square in front of the Greek Parliament became the scene of social protest. Despite the attempt of different professional groups to unite in their anger against the government, they neither held a general protest, nor showed the government that they support each other in their claims.

Hundreds of taxi owners held a procession from the union building to Syntagma. They held a two-day strike to show the government that they have no intention to accept the changes the Ministry of Transport plans that will deprive them of their field interests. On their way to the square at the Greek Parliament, they stopped at Klavtmonos Square. There were the civil servants opposing the government's decision to send most of them in the labour reserve.

Both groups of protesters set off together, but separated at the square. Taxi owners headed to its upper part, on the sidewalk in front of the Parliament and civil servants went down, where their union ADEDY organized a protest concert.

Having chanted the slogans known from their protest several times, the taxi owners listened to the union leader Evtimios Limberopoulos and stayed on the boulevard at the Parliament, without causing any tension.

At the same time, the civil servants gathered around the stage, but their number was not impressive. A dozen officials were watching them from the building of the Ministry of Finance, a wall panel reading "Occupation. This is enough! We want to live" hanging above them.

Meanwhile, a group of citizens had assembled at the stairs leading from the square to the Parliament. They gathered signatures against the church property untaxed with the extra tax voted a few days ago.  The author of one of the slogans expressed his surprise why the Church does not pay the priests alone like each company pays its employees, and another one had a picture of an apartment block with a church dome instead of roof and an inscription: "Here's how you can avoid paying extra taxes." Another poster called to impose taxes on the Church.

Employees of some of the public companies set for merger or closing handed out leaflets to the citizens, and a small group of discontented tried to block the Amaliyas Avenue unsuccessfully. The police without tension repelled the “occupiers”.

Earlier, employees in various ministries held occupations of buildings; their protest was under the auspices of the union of civil servants. 50 employees blocked the entrance to the Ministry of the Interior, 50 – the Ministry of Employment, 30 – the Ministry of Justice, 30 – the Ministry of Finance, 50 – the Ministry of Health and 50 - the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food. According to the trade union, the occupations took place on the day of the return of the surveillance Troika in Greece to show civil servants irreconcilability. They are opposing the "new barbarian measures that have been adopted or are being adopted for further cuts in income, the new payroll table – the poverty table, the new poll-taxes and mass layoffs even in the narrow public sector. "

Despite the efforts of the organizers of the protest, the meeting of the supervisory Troika with representatives of the Ministry of Finance was held in another building. It is unclear whether this will change the decision of the "occupiers" of the institution to fulfill their threat to stay there for two days. For now, the protests are not at all the same as the mass rallies held in June. Police forces are not so numerous either. Yet participants say they have no intention to cease to resist and will strike until "the government falls."

Tags: SocietyPoliticsProtestsTaxi ownersCivil servantsLabour reserveOccupationsMinistries
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