Wed, March 17, 2010
World > Europe > Greek debt crisis

Greek labor unions end one more day of protests

2010-03-16 23:37:39 GMT2010-03-17 07:37:39 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Demonstrators are confronted with riot police during a protest against the austerity measures announced by the Greek government earlier this month, in central Athens, on March 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Demonstrators are confronted with riot police during a protest against the austerity measures announced by the Greek government earlier this month, in central Athens, on March 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against the austerity measures announced by the Greek government earlier this month, in central Athens, on March 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against the austerity measures announced by the Greek government earlier this month, in central Athens, on March 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Demonstrators are confronted with riot police during a protest against the austerity measures announced by the Greek government earlier this month, in central Athens, on March 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

ATHENS, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Greeks gathered in central Athens on Tuesday evening and ended one more day of protests, vowing for more action against austerity measures in the following days.

The protest organized by the umbrella union of public servants ADEDY which has already called for a similar protest next Tuesday and more strikes, ended with minor clashes between protesters and police which used teargas. No injuries or serious damages were reported.

"We are not here to clash with policemen, but with the idea that measures which target people of low incomes will get us out of the crisis," Stamatis Papadatos, a 43-year-old teacher who took part in the rally told Xinhua.

"I intend to stay out on the streets for weeks and months to come, distributing banners to people, until the government takes the measures back. Otherwise, I will have a darker future," Erofili, a university student added.

"We will not pay for their crisis. We will fight for citizens' needs, not their profits," shouted Manos Xenidis, a 53-year-old employee at the public power company DEY, member of the labor union which called a nationwide 48- hour strike on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The strike has led to blackout in parts of Greece. The union objects to cutbacks on salaries and allowances and reforms on the pension system.

Xenidis who counted the years to retirement at 63 years and now will probably have to work for two more years, as well as Aggeliki Fatourou, a teacher, are determined to continue "until the end, until tax evaders pay and social justice prevails."

"We cannot stand still when our government gets congratulations from abroad on the harsh measures announced against poor people," Ilias Vretakos said.

Besides employees at the public power company, doctors working in public hospitals are also on strike since Tuesday morning and hospitals run on emergency staff, while taxi drivers and owners of gas stations have called a 24-hour strike on Thursday, when the cabinet is expected to discuss the reform of the tax system.

The union of gas owners which rejects the latest hikes on fuel tax, which has led to a 15 percent drop in demand, as they claim, warns with more strikes during the Easter holidays on early April.

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