Greek protesters call president “traitor”, halt parade

Protesters pull police barricades during a protest against austerity policies in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece October 28, 2011. REUTERS/Grigoris Siamidis

[In the midst of ever-growing crisis, national celebrations are widely seen as bourgeois extravagances undeserving of popular support. — Frontlines ed.]

By George Georgiopoulos and Daniel Flynn, Reuters

ATHENS | Fri Oct 28, 2011

(Reuters) – Greeks protesting at austerity measures demanded by foreign lenders blocked a major national parade on Friday to commemorate Greek resistance in World War Two, shouting “traitors” at President Karolos Papoulias and other officials.

The protest in Thessaloniki was echoed at smaller parades across Greece, including in Athens where marchers held black ribbons. It showed the extent of anger at the higher taxes and wage cuts sought by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in return for funds to avert a debt default.

The annual military parade in the northern city is one of the most symbolic events in Greece’s political calendar and commemorates the rejection of Italy’s ultimatum to surrender in 1940. It was the first time it had been cancelled. Continue reading

Greece: Strike wave builds toward 48 hours general strike

Greek strike wave grows ahead of austerity vote

ATHENS, Greece, October 17, 2011 – Greek railway workers and journalists joined ferry crews, garbage collectors, tax officials and lawyers on Tuesday in a strike blitz against yet more austerity measures required if the country is to avoid defaulting on its debts.

The protests will lead into a general strike over the coming two days, culminating on Thursday when Parliament holds a crucial vote on the new painful cutbacks that follow nearly two years of austerity. A similar strike before an austerity bill in June was accompanied by large protest marches which degenerated into street battles between rioters and police.

The highly unpopular new measures include further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants out of a total of more than 750,000 and the suspension of collective labor contracts. Continue reading