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Greece: pensioner protests and record unemployment

Greece: pensioner protests and record unemployment
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Outside the Health Ministry in Athens, people gathered to protest against pension cuts that are part of tough austerity measures.

In the midst of a heatwave, with the temperature soaring to over 40 degrees celsius on Thursday, senior citizens took to the streets to highlight their plight, as the government focuses on making the changes needed to clinch a 130 billion euro bailout.

“I started working in 1965 and I haven’t stopped since then. Now after 47 years of working, we’re being punished and don’t have enough to eat or pay the electricity bills. On top of that, they want us to pay. How can you pay when you don’t have anything to pay with?” said pensioner Artemios Karamanlis.

Eighty-year-old Katerina added: “I can’t afford my medicines. What can I pay with 400 euros? Can I pay new taxes? I’m not just talking about myself – the whole country is going under. I’m old and I’ll be gone one day, but what’ll happen to our children? They’re destroying everything.”

The demonstration comes a day after jobless figures showed the unemployment rate in April hit a new record high of 22.5 percent.