Tuesday, 29 June 2010

'Burn parliament!' call from Greek protesters

'BURN Parliament!' was the rallying cry for protesters in Athens during the latest Greek general strike against neoliberal 'austerity' measures.

Said Reuters: "Riot police in Athens fired teargas at a group of black-hooded youths hurling stones and petrol bombs and chanting 'Burn parliament', hours before lawmakers were due to debate the sweeping EU/IMF-mandated pension reform."

Added AFP: "Anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece turned violent on Tuesday as the fifth general strike this year disrupted ferry, air and rail departures and condemned travellers to fresh misery.

"Thousands of people took to the streets to protest cuts to public sector pay and pensions aimed at shoring up Greek finances, burdened by a huge public debt and deficit.

"A confrontation at the main protest in Athens broke out when a group of neo-Nazis approached the demonstration and police later fired tear gas as they were pelted with pieces of broken masonry by a few dozen protesters.

"Police said seven officers were injured in the protest and six people were arrested. Two banks and three shops had their windows smashed, a police statement said.

"In a separate incident, a policeman was taken away by ambulance after being hit by a stone, but authorities said his injuries were not serious.

"While over 15,000 protesters marched in Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki according to police, several thousand travellers could not sail for the Greek islands from the port of Piraeus due to a Communist blockade.

"At least six scheduled ferry services to the Aegean were cancelled though a strong police guard enabled seven ships to sail earlier, the Coast Guard said.

"Some 500 Communist-affiliated strikers at the harbour also blocked the departure of smaller vessels to islands closer to Athens.

"Greece's main airlines grounded nearly 50 of Tuesday's domestic flights because of the strike while rail access to Athens airport was also impeded. Intercity trains also ran a reduced service along with hospitals and state offices shut down altogether.

"No news was broadcast as journalists joined the action."