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. Continue reading →
The legislation features about $4 billion in severe budget trims, including 15,000 job reductions this year alone. Furious crowds chant outside Parliament, and several Athens buildings are set on fire
by Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times–Reporting from Athens, February 13, 2012
As thousands of protesters took to the streets and violence ripped through central Athens, Greece’s Parliament approved yet another round of punishing spending cuts to secure international rescue funds and ease fears of a calamitous financial collapse, potentially perilous for global markets and Europe‘s single currency.
The legislation, featuring about $4 billion in severe budget trims including steep wage and pension cuts as well as 15,000 job reductions this year alone, was backed by 199 lawmakers of the 300-member Parliament. Five abstained, 22 were absent and 74 lawmakers — including socialist and conservative supporters of the coalition government — voted against the bill that capped a ferocious 11-hour debate ending early Monday.
Throughout the marathon discussion, thousands of Greeks opposed to the austerity package descended on the sprawling grounds of Parliament shouting, “Get out!” and “Thieves!” The crowd swelled into the tens of thousands and their chants echoed across the capital — even renowned music composer Mikis Theodorakis showed up — as mobs of youths clashed with police and set fires to at least 34 buildings. Continue reading →
Marchers in London carry placards during a nationwide day of strikes Thursday. Hundreds of thousands of people participated. / LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/Associated Press
BY JILL LAWLESS
LONDON — British teachers and public-sector workers swapped classrooms and offices for picket lines Thursday as hundreds of thousands walked off the job to protest pension cuts.
Airport operators warned there could be long lines at immigration entry points because of walkouts by passport officers, but most of Britain’s airports, including Heathrow and Manchester, said it was business as usual.
Unions estimated that up to 750,000 teachers and civil servants joined the one-day strike, which disrupted courthouses, tax offices, employment centers and schools. The government said the figure was lower.
Thousands of union members marched through London and other cities to demand that the government rethink plans to curb public-sector pensions. Small groups of anti-capitalist protesters scuffled with police and were cordoned in by officers.
Police said 37 people were arrested for offenses including drug possession, criminal damage and breach of the peace.
Thursday’s walkouts are the first salvo in what unions said they hope will be a summer of discontent against the Conservative-led government’s austerity plans. Continue reading →