Pensioners have been marching in Athens to protest against further cuts planned by the Greek government, and yet to be announced.
Their pensions, along with public sector workers’ pay, are next in the firing line as Athens tries to ensure it gets more EU bailout money by cutting costs. But the elderly are feeling the pain of austerity already, and letting the government know.
“My wife, child and I spend over 400 euros a month on medicine. My monthly pension is 720 euros, not enough to buy medicines or even a doughnut. Is it enough?” said one man.
“They have destroyed us. They have created a new social group of slaves and serfs. They are killing us,” said another.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with the EU President Herman Van Rompuy ahead of the latest troika meeting on Monday. Van Rompuy assured Samaras he had no doubt Greece’s future was within the eurozone, and promised his full support.
“Prime Minister Samaras has confirmed to me that his government and his coalition behind it are firmly committed to press ahead with the fiscal consolidation and important reforms to live up to the choice of the Greek people,” said Van Rompuy.
But Samaras issued a warning:
“As I told the president the tolerance of the people has reached its limit and their sacrifices must bear fruit. That means recovery of the economy as fast as possible.”
Breaking up monopolies and ignoring the pleas of vested interests remain at the heart of the troika creditor’s demands, but with thousands of police mobilised for an expected huge rally tonight in Greece’s second city Salonika, anger is again on the rise.