Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding US Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Protest turns deadly as Palestinians rally against Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

Europe

Thousands rally in Greece against austerity measures

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-04

Around 10,000 protesters swarmed Athens and Thessaloniki Thursday, in rallies against Greece's drastic new austerity measures. More demonstrations are expected to rile the country in coming days, and a general strike has been called for Friday.

AFP - Around 10,000 leftist protesters rallied late Thursday in central Athens and Thessaloniki against a debt-dictated austerity programme as Greece braced for a new barrage of strikes and work stoppages.

Several thousand demonstrators gathered in front of Athens University, chanting "Work for the unemployed!" and unfurling banners reading, "You want war, you have it!"

A 'vote of confidence'

Greece launched a five-billion-euro (6.8-billion-dollar) bond issue Thursday to raise desperately needed funds and drew a very good response.

The government said it had attracted offers amounting to about 16 billion euros on a 10-year bond, describing the successful bond issue as a vote of confidence in its debt-saddled economy.
 

The demonstration, called for by unions and radical left lawmakers, was expected to end with a march to parliament, where Communist protesters were rallying with their own banners scrawled with slogans like "War against the capitalists' war!"

The ground was littered with tracts calling for strikes Friday, when the Greek parliament is due to vote on a series of belt-tightening measures.

Called for Thursday by two Greek unions -- the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), which represents around a million members, and the 300,000-member civil servant union ADEDY -- the strikes are expected snarl flights and disrupt the operation of ministries.

Flights through Greece will be hit with a 1000-1400 GMT work stoppage by air traffic controllers, while Athens buses and trams will halt for the entire day.

Rail employees and sailors are expected to clarify their own stance later on Thursday.

Demonstrations by Communist workers, leftists and unions will be held outside parliament during the voting of the austerity cuts into law. Police officers, included in the pay cuts, have been invited by their syndicate to join protests in Athens and other cities.

The Socialist government on Wednesday unveiled a programme of civil servant pay cuts, tax hikes and a pension freeze to save 4.8 billion euros (6.5 billion dollars) and ease pressure on the country's debt-hit economy.

"These measures will inevitably lead the real economy to a deep recession, into the freezer really," GSEE chairman Yiannis Panagopoulos told reporters.

Greece is mired in recession and has an official unemployment rate of over 10 percent. Unions say the real rate is higher.

Earlier Thursday, 300 communist union members invaded the finance ministry, and unemployed staff from former state carrier Olympic Airlines occupied the state accounting office.

European officials have praised the latest Greek cuts. But so far there is no clear signal that financial help might emerge, and the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund are insisting that Greece must show it is reforming the entire structure of its economy.

During talks in Berlin Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to tell Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that it is up to Athens to solve its financial problems.
 

Date created : 2010-03-04

  • GREECE

    Debt-saddled Greece goes the extra mile in bid to sway EU

    Read more

COMMENT(S)