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Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis 'attacked' by protesters in Athens restaurant

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Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis 'attacked' by protesters in Athens restaurant



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The Syriza party got elected in Greece promising to end austerity and stop job losses – but some groups are already angry at the new government.

Dozens of recently-hired tax workers protested outside the finance ministry in Athens complaining that they receive less pay than their colleagues.

It comes amid tense negotiations to unlock badly needed bailout funds.

One protester, named as Vicki, took to task not just the Syriza administration but previous ones too.

“The governments have promised that they’ll reward us for all the work that we’re trying to do and unfortunately all we’re hearing is words,” she said.

A draft bill of reforms it’s hoped will help unlock bailout funds is thought to include measures proposed by Yanis Varoufakis.

The Greek Finance Minister has been severely criticised by the country’s European creditors and was sidelined in a reshuffle of the negotiating team.

Amateur video has emerged showing Varoufakis surrounded by protesters he claims had just tried to attack him in a restaurant.

He revealed in a statement that a group of self-styled anarchists threw glass objects at him and his wife Danae Stratou on a visit to an Athens restaurant.

The statement said Varoufakis’ wife stepped between him and the attackers in order to shield him.

The incident took place on Tuesday evening, according to the statement, as the couple had just finished dining with a friend in the bohemian Exarchia district, the scene of many clashes between anarchists and police.

The group of attackers entered the restaurant’s inner courtyard, cursing at Varoufakis and telling him and his wife to leave “their area”.

Varoufakis said his wife, an artist, blocked the attack.

“Danae, before the anarchist/anti-establishment group got near us – and before I could stop her – she stood up and hugged me with strength, turning her back to them, so you they would have to hit her first before they could hit me,” Varoufakis wrote in the statement released by his ministry.

Then “they retreated fast continuing their curses and threats, got out of the courtyard and waited for us outside the restaurant,” Varoufakis added.

He said he then engaged them in an “intense dialogue” for 15 minutes, after which things calmed down.

“I started a dialogue with them, saying that I wanted to hear them out, even if that meant that I would be hit,” said Varoufakis.

The minister said he thought the group was more interested in embarrassing him than injuring him.

“Regardless of the fear and aversion that arbitrary violence causes us, the answer to these people’s anger and acts of violence cannot and should not be either a retreat nor a violent restraint,” Varoufakis wrote.


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