Greek Police Clash With Austerity Protesters
Violence has broken out in the Greek capital Athens, where protesters have clashed with police during an anti-austerity demonstration.
Campaigners threw petrol bombs and rocks at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas to break up groups of troublemakers.
It comes on the day European leaders meet to discuss the future of the single currency.
Millions of Greeks have joined a general strike in a bid to convince politicians to let up on years of crippling austerity.
The 24-hour walkout, organised by the country's two biggest labour unions, is the twentieth work stoppage since a devastating debt crisis erupted in the country late 2009.
The financial crisis has since spread to other troubled economies sharing Europe's single currency.
The latest action targets a fresh batch of brutal budget cuts which Athens must take to unlock some 31 billion euros (£25.1bn) in bailout loans it needs to keep the country paying pension, state salaries and running costs.
From taxi drivers to doctors and diplomats, the strike is expected to paralyse an already suffocating economy.
Ships will remain docked throughout the day, hospitals plan to operate on skeleton staff, and dozens of domestic and international flights face cancellation as air traffic controllers agreed to join the protest.
Aircraft will be grounded - and the country isolated from the rest of the world - for three hours.
Most business and public sector activity is expected to come to a screeching halt and government offices will remain shut.
The focus will be in the capital where organisers have called on protesters to rally outside parliament, a venue of frequent, at times, violent, showdowns between demonstrators and police.
Fearing potential violence, authorities have ordered some 4,000 police to the streets to mind demonstrations planned in the capital.
Steel fences and water cannon have been propped outside parliament to shield the sprawling building.
"Just once, the government should reject [international] lenders' absurd demands," said Yannis Panagopoulos, head of the GSEE private sector union.
"Agreeing to catastrophic measures means driving society to despair and the consequences as well as the protests will be indefinite."
Opinion polls show eight in 10 Greeks increasingly pessimistic, believing the country was heading down a wrong path of austerity.
Still, with the country running low on cash, the prime minister has said Greece has enough money through November.
But Athens has little leverage against lenders pushing for it to adopt 13.5 billion euro in added austerity.
Earlier this week, demands for drastic labour overhauls, including cuts in wages and severance fees, kicked up a political storm. The government's junior coalition partner threatened to walk out of government if the measures were adopted.
Under the current agreement, Greece has to adopt the cuts through 2014; to ease the pain, however, the government, wants an extra two years, until 2016.
Entangled in its worst economic crisis since World War Two, Greece has seen the recession leave a record 1.3 million people, or 25.1%, jobless.
And so unions have vowed to wage rolling strikes to pressure the government to repeal the latest new labour regulations, which include a reported 15,000 public sector sackings.
what do you think?
Brian E Gorton
Don't think this can't happen in Britain! In the last two months I have purchased items from cheap shops. Owned and run by non British brothers.Not once have I got a till receite.On five occations the money went into the back pocket.I wonder if tax was paid for these sales!!!!!
Is ur life that sad that everything in life in ur eyes is foreigners fault. Take some blame mister.
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Windows Live User
Seeing that everyone from ministers, bankers and top corporations "stick it in their back pockets" i would now have no qualms in doing the same given the chance!
Brian, if you are paying by cash knowing it is not going through the book, you are no better than the shop keepers you condemn Me, I am happy to pay cash for a 20% discount
The protestors are justfed in their actions. Direct action against the state is a human right. Reject austerity. Reject capitalism - the source of austerity. Return western nations back to democracy. Instead of faceless capitalism
With you maze
Greece's problem is rapant public sector spending and corrution throughout, primarily by politicians of both sides. Their PASOK leader has been hiding a lst supplied by the IMF of 15,000 public sector involved in fleecing the system. So far one politician has committed sucide following discovery and it was reported in the German press that another had hundreds of millions in Swiss accounts, yet a salary of only 34,000.
Windows Live User
Whilst I dont condone violence at least the Greeks have shown they have real cojones in simply not accepting what is being heaped upon them. Austerity should be leveled at all in this country, including slippery full corporation tax loopholers who should be constantly named and shamed. Business' that are trying to maintain extortionately high levels of profit while the masses are forced to suffer immense debt to survive. The money lenders that are looking to trap people for life. Cameron must remember We are ALL in this together. That includes the business' above, banks, MP's and all the rest who see this as a good time to make hay, instead of pulling their weight. Got to hand it to the Greeks.
With you completely!
I totally agree
Obviously the Greek people like many poster on this site are too stupid to realise you cant keep borowiing, at some time you will need to pay it back
Who's talking about borrowing? Just write off the debt, seize the banks and the fortunes of the wealthy and start reorganising their society in favour of the millions, not the millionaires who caused their deficit in the first place by avoiding taxes...just like here really.
respect to the people of Greece. with you in spirit
15,000 public sector jobs to go ! how will the country run without them ?
Possibly a lot better - you do not join the public sector to work hard you save your energy for the weekend
You two remind me, in a sense, of Andrew Mitchell, the disgraceful Tory MP who verbally abused a policeman (a public sector worker) and displayed his arrogance, as you two are doing here. He swore and insulted a police officer, yet, when he was attacked by one of his constituents prior to this who did he go crying to for help? The police. I daresay either of you two public sector deriders would equally swallow your cheap words while waiting for fire fighters to arrive if your homes caught fire. Hypocrites.
Chris I work for the public sector and many are lazy, incompetent, wasteful and clueless. Most have little idea how a modern efficient commercially aware organisation works I stand by my comment "you do not join the public sector to work hard" Chris wrote "waiting for fire fighters to arrive if your homes caught fire." this would of course be if the could break away from their second full time job - obviously the fire service job is so demanding many do an addition 40 hours a week cash in hand Yes my window cleaned does a full round 4 days a week cash in hand and is a fire fighter - started cleaning my fathers house in 1976 so owes in excess of Ã?Â£ 250,000 in back tax A carpenter we use on sites in Cornwall is, yes you have it, a full time fire fighter, and works full time for an contractor we employ Many public sector workers would find it difficult to justify their job and their out put to those who pay their wages
And still the car crashes - on it's 18th roll now? Greece has to leave the Euro in order to restore it's correct exchange rate with the world. Only then will it be able to trade properly and return to growth. This goes for all Euro memebers who up 'hissy fit' street.
THEY ARE TERRIFIED THAT GREECE WILL LEAVE THE EURO, BECAUSE IF IT DOSE THAT IS THE START OF THE END .LETS HAVE A VOTE AND TELL THEM WHERE TO GO THE SOONER WE GET OUT THE BETTER .WHO WILL FOLLOW NEXT SPAIN.PORTUGAL.ITALY .?
Seems like everywhere that Governments FORGET that joe public is there employers,not the other way round ,may a EU wide ,Country to country should all hold referendums on the EU,seems since this inconcieved idea is now about to explode,at least the Greeks have the balls to actually do something ,like most Med Countries do,except here! The idea of a single Currencey just does not work...period
or as running the whole EU as one state! time to dismantle it,maybe the doomsday 2012 is really the fall of the EU
Well you voted for it so quit complaining Greece. Only way forward is the Drachma
But the Nobel Peace prize will look so nice on the EU mantlepiece.
It's not good the German plan to dominate Europe could be in trouble they want total control of your money your tax your laws and your work .They are doing it by stealth and the collapse of the euro will kill off their domination dreams
Pure Rubbish,get your facts straight,The USA,Russia,China are dominating/ controlling the market,not Germany!! You need to get your IQ,ex amen mate!!/
It's good to see the Greek working class continuing their fight against austerity. They should now push their union leaders aside who are holding them back and take power - before the vicious fascist Golden Dawn attempts to do so.
what a load of *rap stop sucking *ock open your eyes or stop living off you runion members hard work - just another union rep sctounger