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Thousands march in Greece to protest austerity

 
 
 
 
 
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More than 10,000 Greek workers have taken to the streets in the capital to protest against the government’s austerity measures, as inspectors of the troika of international lenders are in Athens to review the country’s bailout.

Some 12,000 people participated in two separate marches to parliament on Wednesday in Athens.

Similar protests were also held in the country’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, where some 10,000 people demonstrated against the government’s reforms.

Protesters argue cuts to salaries and pensions demanded by the troika are causing them basic survival problems.

“Enough is enough, we’ve lost our dignity,” said protester Fotini Halikiopoulou, adding, “We’ve sacrificed everything and they (the troika) are not budging an inch.”

The marches were held while the country’s largest public and private sector unions staged a 24-hour strike in protest against the pay cuts as well as planned layoffs within the public sector and privatizations.

Among those who joined the strike were school teachers, doctors, municipal and transport workers. Air traffic controllers staged a three-hour walkout between 1000 and 1300 GMT.

This comes while inspectors from the troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are visiting Athens to resume their latest bailout review.

According to Greek union officials, labor unions are concerned that Athens would have to impose fresh wage and pension cuts in a bid to meet its bailout targets in the coming years.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government has rejected further wage and pension cuts or tax increases to fill any budget gaps.

During a televised interview on Tuesday, Samaras said, “Society cannot take it, the economy cannot take it, and it is not even required by the country’s current financial situation.”

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its sixth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left tens of thousands of people without jobs.

The country’s unemployment is currently above 27 percent, banks are in a shaky position, and pensions and salaries have been slashed.

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  • I think that the problem at hand is that there is no perspective to the future. Even if they were right about the austerity, and even if they repayed their debt, what then?
    There is no economical sense behind it. And how are the greeks supposed to repay some debts, when they are not participating on the exports. So they are not even having the chance to work themselves out.
    Neoliberal economics say that when they do austerity, their labour becomes cheap and then companies start to invest, hire people and there will be growth, that can be used to repay the debts.
    Well, from 2009 on they are trying austerity without some of these effects taking place, and eventually, it gets even worse.
    But honestly, what is the point of giving the capital back to, say, the germans and french? They have more than enough capital themselves and do not know what to do with it, so what should it help?
    Or does anyone think that the german government would then use that money to fix the streets? They could do it right away, but for that they would need to go in debt and they do not want to do it because they have forbidden themselves to go more in debt. And even if even more money would be there (from the greeks for example) that would not change the problem, that in order to get to this money, someone would need to take this debt. Now the debt is in Greece, but where should it go from there?

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