Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Greek protest turns violent during general strike
First Published Sep 26 2012 09:09 am • Last Updated Sep 26 2012 09:37 am

ATHENS, Greece • Police clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs and bottles in central Athens Wednesday after an anti-government rally called as part of a general strike in Greece turned violent.

Riot police used tear gas and pepper spray against several hundred demonstrators after the violence broke out near the country’s parliament. Protesters also set fire to trees in the National Gardens and used hammers to smash paving stones and marble panels to use as missiles against the riot police.

Photos

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

About 50,000 people joined the union-organized march in central Athens on Wednesday, held during a general strike against new austerity measures planned in the crisis-hit country. The action, the first large-scale walk-out since the country’s coalition government was formed in June, closed schools and disrupted flights and most services.

Everyone from shopkeepers and pharmacists to teachers, customs workers and car mechanics joined the demonstration, seen as a test of public tolerance for more hardship after two years of harsh spending cuts and tax hikes.

"People, fight, they’re drinking your blood," protesters chanted as they banged drums.

As the strike got under way Wednesday, Greece’s prime minister and finance minister hammered out a (euro) 11.5 billion ($14.87 billion) package of spending cuts demanded by the country’s international lenders.

Greece’s politicians have struggled to come up with more austerity measures that would be acceptable to its rescue creditors, with disagreements arising between the three parties that make up the coalition government. The country has been dependent on international loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since mid-2010. Without them, Greece would be forced into a chaotic default on its debts and possibly into an exit from the 17-country bloc that uses the euro.

The country’s lenders have demanded more fiscal reforms if they are to continue issuing more rescue payouts. The next payment of (euro) 31 billion hinges on the government agreeing to further cuts.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras formulated a deal on the new (euro) 11.5 billion austerity package for 2013-14, along with another (euro) 2 billion in improved tax collection, a finance ministry official said Wednesday morning.

The other two party leaders were to be briefed by Samaras on Thursday, a party official said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.


story continues below
story continues below

Wednesday’s strike shut down the Acropolis, Greece’s most famous tourist site, and halted flights for hours. Ferry services were suspended, schools, shops and gas stations were closed and hospitals were functioning on emergency staff.

One of those striking was Athens hospital worker Alkis Betses, who has seen his monthly salary fall from (euro) 1,300 to (euro) 800 (($1,680 to $1,035), says new cuts will bring it down to (euro) 600 ($775).

"How can you survive on 600 a month, with ever-rising taxes, and continue to pay bills and buy necessary supplies?"

Betses said hospitals have been hard hit by spending cuts, with staff shortages and long delays in doctors’ overtime pay for night shifts.

"The resentment has been there for long before the new measures. Imagine what will happen when they’re made public," he said.

Derek Gatopoulos in Athens contributed.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.