This is a video about Greek demonstrators on Syntagma Square in Athens.
By Ben Chacko:
Workers warn PM: ‘We will not sell’
Thursday 09 June 2011
Demonstrators send strong message as general strike looms large
Public-sector workers went on strike today and thousands of protesters marched through Athens and rallied outside parliament as the government finalised plans for a fire sale of public assets.
Workers joining the demonstrations carried banners reading: “We will not sell.”
Transport staff walked out for the morning and evening rush hours while port workers, post offices and banks called a 24-hour strike.
Live reporting of the action was interrupted as television technicians and journalists also walked out and more of the same is expected with a general strike set to take place on June 15.
Prime Minister George Papandreou was calling a cabinet meeting today to approve additional austerity measures to be sent to parliament.
His programme includes a €6.4 billion (£5.7bn) package of cuts and tax rises this year, an “austerity drive” from 2012 to 2015 and raising €50bn (£44bn) by selling public services to privateers.
Many services may collapse and the government admits that the loss-making railway system might need to close large parts of its network before it becomes “attractive to a potential buyer.”
The threshold below which income is not taxed will also be “reduced significantly” while more taxes will be imposed on pensioners under the plans.
Greece is under intense pressure from the “troika” of the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank, which forced a staggered €110bn bailout on the country in May 2010 but are now stalling the next instalment of the money on the grounds that the country is not cutting expenditure fast enough.
“After a strong start in the summer of 2010 the implementation of the reforms has come to a halt,” the troika stated in a report sent to eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday.
The report said Greece should cut spending worth 10 per cent of the country’s GDP by 2014 through “salary and job cuts in the public sector and savings in health and social spending.”
It said cuts would need to be deeper than anticipated because the Greek economy was likely to shrink 3.8 per cent this year, although critics hold that the austerity programme is a key factor in the economic decline.
OVER 10,000 workers from the Greek state corporations and organisations (power and electricity, telecommunications, post-office, water authorities etc) took part in a militant and defiant rally and march in Athens on Thursday afternoon against the privatisation programme of the government: here.