October 5th, 2011
10:19 AM ET

Marchers shut down central Athens in financial protest

At least 10,000 marchers shut down the center of the Greek capital Wednesday to protest the latest waves of austerity measures announced by the government.

The march accompanied a one-day strike in the public sector that shut down Athens International Airport, government ministries and schools. Hospitals operated on skeleton staffs, and some commuter rail services were closed.

The marchers shouted slogans against the government and the threesome overseeing Greece's $146 billion bailout: the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

The protesters were unionized public sector workers, angry at the pay cuts they have suffered which, they say, amount to as much as 40% of take-home pay. The best paid 100,000 public sector workers will lose another 20% of their pay, the finance ministry recently announced.


Filed under: Economy • Greece • World
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I've spent a lot of time working in Greece. It's amazingly beautiful.
    Those lucky enough to live there may have to ignore some of the sunshine, learn a faster folk dance, and produce a little more stuff.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    I've been there. I've known people who have gone there at other times. The running gag for anyone who has just come back from Greece is "Who was on strike this time?". When I was there, it was the electric utility workers, transit workers, and bank staff. The utility and bank strikes were rotating, so bank branches would close on unannounced days, but be open the next day. Brown outs would happen at unannounced times. Army vehicles were being used for mass transit instead of transit buses.

    I don't know how the Greeks can put this much time and effort into protests, but can't seem to do their JOBS.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andreas Moser

    THAT's the way to revitalize the economy, yes!
    I'll send more money from Germany...

    October 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bathory

    If I were getting my take home chipped away as slowly but surely as the people of Greece to pay for my government's mismanagement, I would take to the streets, too...oh, wait, they ARE doing that here, aren't they? Everyone here would just say okay to having your paychecks slashed almost in half, right? Sure. Uh huh.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • American

      How about the fact that they just lay us off here. Who is so concerned about pay cuts in America? Job losses is what is hurting our people. They lay off the American workers and bring people in from other countries to take our places on work visas. An ordinary citizen cannot get a visa for a fiance' or a spouse to move to America and live with their new family, but corporations can move foreign workers into the country at will, paying for the foreign workers papers, HB-1 work visas and green cards. Sure does seem like a double standard to me! Maybe it is time to remove the wealthy from political service and the temptation of corporate greed. Have the country ran by the working middle class, they represent the vast majority of the population anyway. No more lobbying! This is just legalized bribery! Allow the middle class to serve a term in office and then return to their own lives as the job was meant to be in the first place. A service for your country, not a career. No more retirement or fully paid medical for the government employees and families while in office either. Require that they pay for their medical just like the working class does, with the same level of services. No more paying Social Security benefits to those who have not worked and paid into the system. If a person is disabled and unable to work at a young age, the family should take care of them. That is what family is for. Those who worked and paid into the system all of their lives should not have the system managed by some one who doesn't need the system when they retire. The system should be managed by a middle class team of workers who have and continue to pay into the system. In short, common people, just plain common sense needed to fix these problems. Nurses being replaced by nurses from other countries, school teachers being replaced by teachers from other countries. Don't say that it doesn't happen, because I have seen this myself and I know other Americans who have also witnessed the same things happening. Corporate greed and corrupt politicians!

      October 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cult of Personality

    Yes, Greece is truly a beautiful country and there's a ton of history there. Personally, I always loved the Greek alphabet, especially after using it for so many of my high school and college coursework (i.e. – Calculus, Physics, Statistics, etc.),

    October 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      I tend to agree, Cult of Personality. I too love the Greek alfabet but their language is very difficult to learn. Russian, like Greek, is also very difficult although it's my favorite language. By the way, the Greeks need to pull out of the E.U. and go back to using the drachma instead of the Euro and quit NATO in order to regain their morality.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scott l

    What-you mean driving people into poverty isn't good for an economy? Around the world, including here in the USA corporations are making near record profits. Workers face job cuts, forced overtime and stagnant or dropping wages because in high unemployment people are intimidated to demand what they're worth. The rich pay some of the lowest taxes they've seen for decades but governments have to cut services for children and the elderly, not to mention the jobless. Ironically, spreading the wealth would do the most to heal the economy in the long term because consumers would have more to spend, but it might cut into some corporate short term profits and we cant have that. The Greeks are doing the only thing self-respecting people can do in their situation: fight back.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What the Greeks need to do right now is to withdraw from the E.U. like George Patton said above and return to using the old drachma and to try some form of Maoism as Capitalism has failed there. What's happening there proves that the idea of a united Europe is indeed a very bad one as both Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte learned the hard way!

    October 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    The 5:26 post under my name was written by one of my trolls.
    I love all of my trolls, because they bring more attention to me by printing trash that any smart person can clearly see is not from my hand.
    Free publicity is a good thing.
    I wonder whether my PR guy is bothered by my trolls or not.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ American:
    Nurses being replaced by nurses from other countries?
    Not enough young Americans want to do the STUDYING required to become even an LPN, so we import nurses by the plane load from other countries where there is still a work ethic.
    Want a job for which there is a demand? Go into nursing, young American.
    You'll have to work to get the job, though. It's not a no-child-left-behind kind of learning experience.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |