Greek pensioners protest austerity cuts

Friday Feb 15, 2013

Greek pensioners shout slogans during a march in central Athens to protest against the government’s austerity measures. (file photo)

Greek pensioners have demonstrated in Athens to protest against the government’s harsh austerity measures and highlight the consequences of the program on their life.

On Thursday, hundreds of elderly braved the heavy rain in the capital and marched to the country’s Labor Ministry to express anger at the government’s economic policies and rising unemployment, the Associated Press reported.

“We are not just talking about some problems. They are taking our lives away,” said Dimos Koumbouris, leader of Greece’s main pensioners association.

“We can’t pay our electricity bills, or the emergency taxes. We haven’t enough for our medicines, and it’s putting our lives in danger,” he added.

Greek pensioners have already faced two pension reductions since 2010, when the debt crisis struck the country and the economic cost-cutting program began.
The waves of economic reforms in the country have plagued many social classes from low income earners to the elderly. The government has put in place a wide range of austerity measures in a bid to bring down its hefty debt before facing default.

Greece, which has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis, is experiencing its sixth year of recession and has been relying for nearly three years on international rescue loans to keep it afloat.

On January 16, the International Monetary Fund approved a $4.31-billion (3.24-billion euro) loan installment to Greece on the condition that the country imposes spending cuts and other austerity measures.

Tough austerity measures adopted by the government have led to massive protests across the country.

Jobless levels in Greece are the highest recorded in the eurozone. Data released by the National Statistics Agency on Thursday revealed that the country’s unemployment reached a record high of 27 percent in November of 2012.

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