It looks like putting the left wing Syriza Party in control of Greece hasn’t changed much. The country is still broke, still struggling to make cuts and there is still unrest. In fact, recent pension cuts nearly led to rioting.
The Telegraph UK reports:
Greek police pepper spray protesting pensioners
Greek police on Monday fired pepper spray at pensioners protesting against cuts in their state income.
Thousands of pensioners responded to a protest call by the communist opposition and tensions increased as their protest march approached the prime minister’s residence.
One group of protesters attempted to breach the cordon of riot police guarding the building, while others attempted to overturn a police car, according to an AFP correspondent.
Police responded with a limited amount of pepper spray, but protesters returned before being dispersed.
Nikos Toska, minister for citizens’ protection, took responsibility for the use of the gas irritant and announced a ban on “all use of tear gas on protests by pensioners and workers”.
The leftist Syriza party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, when it was in opposition, regularly decried the use of tear gas on protesters.
Its use was widespread during anti-austerity protests at the beginning of the decade, to the point of affecting whole neighbourhoods of the Greek capital.
The elderly protesters on Monday shouted slogans such as “We can’t live on 400 euros ($450)” and “Let the rich pay for the crisis”.
This is what it looks like when almost everyone works for the government and gets a pension when they retire at age 55. The government runs out of money and you eventually get this:
The New York Times has more:
Greece’s left-wing government has imposed new cuts on pensions this year as part of its bailout commitments to international lenders, with the International Monetary Fund pressing for tougher measures.
The latest round of cuts follows six years of bailout-related austerity measures, while nearly a quarter of Greeks remain unemployed and no longer eligible for state benefits.
“This is a fight for our life. The country has been driven to desperation,” pension protest organizer Dimos Koumbouris told the Associated Press.
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