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Thousands join austerity protests in Greece


Greece

Thousands join austerity protests in Greece

Debt-ridden Greece has been hit by more austerity protests.

In Thessaloniki, farmers dumped watermelons in the street to vent their anger over a multi-billion euro savings plan.

Around 15 thousand trade unionists joined the protest action.

Scuffles broke out when youths threw rocks at police and lit fires. Dozens of people were detained.

Meanwhile, in the capital Athens, thousands of pensioners marched through the city.
“Things have been getting worse,” said Yannis Stouyiotis, a 70-year-old retired steel worker.

“My pension has been significantly reduced and it is my only source of income. Thankfully I have my own house. I have two daughters under 30 who have studied, but they are unemployed,” he continued.

Police officers, firefighters and coastguard staff also turned out to demonstrate. They are all facing wage cuts as part of the latest austerity drive.

“The new measures, if they are implemented, will destroy us,” said Christos Fotopoulous, Greek police union president.

“We are already on the edge of the cliff; this will push us off. We will take this fight to the end.”

Officials from the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank will assess Greece’s reform progress on Sunday, when they meet Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. They will then hold talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday.

The troika must review the country’s cuts before deciding whether to pay out a 31 billion euro EU-IMF rescue loan payment next month.

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