April 19, 2013 — Thousands of pensioners from across Greece flood the capital to demonstrate over cuts to their pensions.
A sea of old age pensioners from across Greece flooded into Athens on Friday (April 19) to protest against pension cuts. Aristides Manikas, protester, said “I have grandchildren, I have great-grandchildren, and I don’t have enough money to buy them candy. It’s embarrassing. I stopped going to the coffee shop. I used to have a glass of wine, I stopped that too. There have been many dictatorships in the past, but none like this one. What’s going to happen to our children.”
Some aided by walking canes and led by a demonstrator on a motorized cart, the elderly marched through the city past the Greek parliament to the Public Administration Ministry, where they were stopped short by police.
The protesters came from cities across the country, saying they have been reduced to poverty by the pension reductions, which are as much as 15 percent.
They have also been hit by new taxes on their homes as part of the reforms, as well as cash for drugs, after the free state social insurance fund suffered medicine shortages.
Some said they were helping out their children, who had lost their jobs in the midst of the crisis.
Figures released by the Greek statistics service on Friday showed that Greek households suffered an 8.3 percent year-on-year drop in gross disposable income in the last quarter of 2012, hit by austerity measures aimed at pulling the country out of its debt crisis.
The country has just wrapped up another review with lenders after agreeing to further reforms in order to receive the next aid installment.
The government has vowed there will not be any more reductions to pensions.