Any hope that a Greek coalition government led by the leftist Syriza party of Alexis Tsipras could save the country from the domination of the IMF/European Commission/Eurobank Troika’s harsh asuterity demands has proven illusory, and Greeks are once again hitting the streets to express their outrage of the immiserization of lives.
From the Guardian:
Farmers’ roadblocks, ferries immobilised in ports, pensioners taking to the streets: protest has returned to Greece in what many fear could be the beginning of the crisis-plagued country’s most confrontational winter yet.
From the Greek-Bulgarian frontier to the southern island of Crete, farmers are up in arms over the spectre of more internationally mandated austerity.
“It’s war,” says Dimitris Vergos, a corn grower speaking from the northern town of Naoussa. “If they [politicians] go on pushing us to the edge, if they want to dehumanise us further, we will come to Athens and burn them all.”
From PressTV, a look at one protest, a tractorcade — a form of agrarian protest launched here in the U.S. in the 1970s by the National Farmers Union:
Greek Farmers Block Roads In Anti-Austerity Demo
Still more on the farmers action from euronews:
The Greek government’s plans for pension reforms have brought thousands of farmers out on the streets in protests in the north of the country, and in Athens it was pensioners who voiced their anger.
The farmers have threatened to block key roads with their tractors on Wednesday.
“We have to stop this pension reform plan, because in the end we will be left both without pensions and without health care. They just keep cutting and cutting with each bailout that comes,” said one elderly woman in Athens.
“Their goal is for social security as we know it to cease to exist,” said an 82-year-old man.
Reuters covers another aspect of today’s actions:
Public and private sector workers plan a national walkout on Feb. 4 but ship workers took early action on Wednesday by starting a 48-hour strike that brought passenger shipping activity in the seafaring nation to an effective standstill.
Ferries remained docked at Greek ports and farmers poured milk onto the streets on Wednesday in protest over plans to revamp Greece’s pensions system, a condition for the country’s multi-billion euro bailout.
Public anger is growing over the leftist-led government’s drive to cut its costly pension bill by some 1.8 billion euros this year, the equivalent of about 1 percent of national output.
This footage from the Adalou Agency shows the action — or rather inaction — today at Piraeus, port for the city of Athens, where the engines of the normally bustling ferries are silent and the ships remained moored. Via Video-News:
Protest against government’s plans on social insurance and pension reform in Athens
Mooring ferries during a 48-hour strike of National Seamen’s Federation against the government’s new social security reform, at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece,on 20 January 2016. The National Seamen’s Federation (PNO) announced a 48-hour nationwide strike on 20 and 21 January, during which no ships will set sail from ports around the country. People take fruits and vegetables as open-air fruit and vegetable vendors block with their products the entrance of Labor Ministry, downtown Athens, Greece, and gave away their produce to passersby. The protesters oppose government’s plans on social insurance and pension reforms.
Ekathimerini covers the so-called “necktie protest” in Athens itself:
More than 6,000 Greek white-collar professionals including doctors, lawyers and engineers protested in Athens on Thursday, waving their neckties as they marched against proposed pension reforms required by the country’s creditors.
“No to the law that dumps us in the street,” read one of the banners of the workers who joined in what the Greek media has dubbed the “Necktie Revolution”. Police estimated the crowd at 6,000-strong.
Greece’s leftist government recently proposed reducing the highest pension benefits and increasing social security contributions by both employers and staff.
“According to this proposed law, 84 percent of our earnings will go to taxes and other contributions (to the state),” said a 35-year-old engineer who gave his name as Haris.
RT’s RUPTLY has raw video of the Athens protest:
Greece: Rise of the professionals – architects, engineers and lawyers take to Athens’ streets
Thousands of engineers, lawyers and freelancers marched through Athens, Thursday, to protest against government-proposed reforms to social security payments and pensions, as mandated in the latest tranche of Troika measures.
SOT Katerina Fasoula, Protesting Egineer (Greek): “I voted for Mr. Tsipras two times, because I believed in him and his word, I thought he would understand us engineers, but unfortunately they do not understand anything and only care about strictly personal benefits.”
SOT Vassilis Donas, Protesting Engineer (Greek): “It is impossible for us freelancers to be paying more than 90% of our income in insurance contributions and taxes to the state.”
Syriza campaigned and won on a pledge to overturn the Troika’s austerian regime, and now that it has knuckled under, one wonders what impetus their failure will give to the hopes of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, the only other significant party with a firm anti-Troika stance.
One shudders to think.