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Thousands of communists stage anti-austerity demo in Greek capital

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Members of a Greek trade union demonstrate in Athens on February 20, 2013.

Thousands of communist-backed labor union activists and their supporters have staged an anti-austerity demonstration in the Greek capital Athens.

The protesters took to the streets in central Athens on Saturday and called on the government to stop the new round of cuts and measures that will slash pensions, salaries and introduce new taxes, The Associated Press reported.

Dimitris Koutsoumbas, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Greece, said workers had to unite in order to avoid the austerity measures.

“The only hope and prospect is to swiftly regroup the workers’ movement and organize the people’s struggle,” he stated.

“In doing so we can promote the people’s alliance among workers, the self-employed, farmers, the young and women against monopolies and capitalism and ensure the new barbaric measures can be avoided, and that the unpopular laws can be cancelled,” Koutsoumbas added.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.

The country is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and European Commission, known as the troika, to suspend workers or reduce their salaries.

Under pressure from the troika of international lenders, Athens has implemented tax and salary reforms that are blamed for the country’s deep recession.

One in every four Greek workers is currently unemployed, banks are in a shaky position, and pensions and salaries have been slashed by about 40 percent.

Greek youths have also been badly affected, and more than half of them are unemployed.

The long-drawn-out eurozone debt crisis, which began in Greece in late 2009 and reached Italy, Spain, and France in 2011, is viewed as a threat not only to Europe but also to many of the world’s other developed economies.


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