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Military, civil servants, medical staff and students on the first line of protests

30 September 2011 / 20:09:29  GRReporter
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Unprecedented events unfolded today in front of the Greek Ministry of Defence. Retired military invaded the courtyard of the complex and caused serious damage in an attempt to compel the Minister Panos Beglitis to meet them. The situation went out of control, although their associations assured that the protests of the military retired would be held within the law and order.

The protest of the military unions against the government policy and the cuts of their income, which not only retired from the military aviation attended, began peacefully. Around a thousand people had gathered in front of the Ministry. A group of about 300 surprised the guards and rushed into the yard of the Ministry through the entrance for visitors. Military commanders of the country went out to hear the protesters, who insisted to meet the Minister.

At the same time, Panos Beglitis was in Parliament, answering parliamentary questions. When he was informed of the violent protests in the Ministry, he defined them as "pathetic events that should be discontinued." "I invite all parties, especially the opposition to contact them and urge them to withdraw," said Panos Beglitis, arguing that New Democracy was the instigator of the attack.

"They are not privileged and may not behave in an unacceptable way and act undemocratically in the name of being part of the army," the Minister said, adding that "if they do not withdraw immediately, I will order their forceful drawing out." Retired military protesters left the yard of the Ministry in the early afternoon.

At the same time, occupations of ministries within the operation codenamed "blockade of the Troika" declared by the union of civil servants, continue. For second day in a row, the Ministry of Finance looks like an impregnable fortress. About 20 people spent the night in the building, and in the morning, employees occupied the Ministry of Transport, where the meeting between Minister Yannis Ragousis and the supervisory Troika will take place. About 50 people had gathered at the entrance of the Ministry of Environment.

On the last day for payment of the extra income tax, citizens held meetings at the tax offices in various municipalities throughout Attica. The employees in the "Help at Home" program as well as nurses and orderlies working in public hospitals held protests and processions.

Students and pupils who gathered outside the Athens University and then held a procession to Parliament once again said "No" to the new higher education law. The members of the coordinating committee of the general meetings and occupations of Greek universities said that the law "virtually eliminates the public and free nature of education, reduces the value of diplomas and creates professionals who will work for a pay in the amount of EUR 500 without labour and professional rights." According to them, "the abolition of university asylum violates the foundations of democracy."

Having in mind the fact that occupations in some faculties were suspended, they commented, "it is about a movement guided by specific student organizations and some media in order to serve private interests and confront the student movement."

At the same time, many departments are deciding the continuation of the occupation, even those where they were completed. The situation is similar in secondary schools throughout the country as the pupils refer to the lack of textbooks. They argue from time Ministry that textbooks were sent to about 40 per cent of the schools.

At the end of the protest, students and pupils held a general meeting at the Law School and decided to continue the protests. Their representatives urged all members of educational institutions to participate in the Pan-Hellenic strike next Wednesday.

Tags: SocietyProtestsBlockadesOccupationsMinistriesTroikaStudentsMilitary retired
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