Greek shipyard workers storm defense ministry in protest
Behind the demonstration comes worry for Greece’s security.
By Andy Dabilis for Southeast European Times in Athens — 05/10/12
Protesters run to escape arrest during clashes with riot police in the courtyard of the defence ministry in Athens on Thursday (October 4th). [Reuters]
Angry about not being paid for six months, workers at an Athens shipyard that deals mainly with military contracts forced their way through the entrance of the Greek Defence Ministry on Thursday (October 4th) and blocked the entrance until riot police were called in to force them back.
The demonstration inside the courtyard of the country’s bastion of security coincided with growing fury against more austerity measures planned by the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that has proposed 13.5 billion euros in additional spending cuts and tax hikes, even as unpaid bills and wages for some public workers are backing up.
Police arrested four workers during a clash and detained another 110 from the group of about 250 protesters who were chanting, „We want solutions, not layoffs!“ The workers were reacting to speculation that as many as 15,000 to 35,000 workers could be suspended as part of the reforms demanded by the EU-IMF-ECB Troika in return for bailout monies.
The head of the Army General Staff, General Michalis Kostarakos, came out to address the protesters but was roundly heckled as he tried to convince them the military was not involved in their pay dispute.
The protest came after uniformed officers took to the streets last month to protest coming pay cuts as part of the government’s new austerity measures in a bid to get the Troika to release a pending 31.1-billion euro installment in rescue loans. A pending second bailout of 130 billion euros is also on hold.
John Nomikos, director of the Athens-based Research Institute for European and American Studies, said the spectacle of the protest was troubling. „What more could I say if 450 demonstrators can ‚invade‘ the department of defence and have the chief of the Armed Forces come down to talk to them?“ he told SETimes.
Demonstrators showed up at police headquarters to protest the arrest of their colleagues and scuffles broke out again, with at least three people reportedly injured.
Unionists representing GSEE and ADEDY, Greece’s biggest unions, as well as Public Power Corporation and the Athens metro joined forces with the protesters.
„It is unacceptable that those who have trampled upon every…
Grand proclamations of a comprehensive privatisation programme are finally showing signs of implementation, nearly three years into a devastating debt and economic crisis plaguing the east Mediterranean country.
Greece tops region in millionaires
Croatia, Romania and Serbia follow close behind. Also in business news: gas prices hit a world high in Turkey, and BiH will get a 405-million euro loan from the IMF.
Greece continues to be the Balkan country with the biggest number of millionaires. [Reuters]
Despite the economic crisis, Greece continues to be the Balkan country with the biggest number of millionaires with wealth of more than $30 million (23.2 million euros), according to a recent study by research company Wealth X. The country stands at 20th position in the list of 45 European states. Next is Croatia at 23rd, Romania at 26th and Serbia at 29th. Albania is at 37th, followed by Slovenia, Cyprus and Bulgaria, which share 38th place. Macedonia and Montenegro are in 41st and 42nd position respectively.