You knew this was coming. Unlike Americans, the Greeks aren't going to take this lying down.
(Bloomberg) -- Greek police fired tear-gas and clashed with demonstrators in central Athens after a march organized by unions to oppose Prime Minister George Papandreou’s drive to cut the European Union’s biggest budget deficit.
“People on the street will send a strong message to the government but mainly to the European Union, the markets and our partners in Europe that people and their needs must be above the demands of markets,” Yiannis Panagopoulos, president of the private-sector union GSEE, told NET TV yesterday. “We didn’t create the crisis.”
Half a million civil servants, who held a one-day strike on Feb. 10, today joined forces with GSEE, which represents 2 million workers, after EU warnings that Papandreou’s government needs to bring in new taxes and make more spending cuts if it fails to rein in the largest budget gap of all 27 EU member states.
Air-traffic controllers, customs and tax officials, train drivers, doctors at state-run hospitals and school teachers walked off the job to protest government spending cuts that will freeze salaries and hiring and cut bonuses. Journalists also joined the strike, creating a media blackout.
The violence might get the media attention, but the fact is that almost all of the protesters were peaceful.
"There is an all-out war against public servants, those who earn the least," said Spyros Papaspyros president of ADEDY, an umbrella union for public-sector workers. "We will fight to keep the little we have. The government and the EU must understand the crisis must be paid by the rich."
Hmmm. A war on public servants. That sounds very familiar to what is going on in America today.
The current government is only in power because of protests and riots last year caused the collapse of the previous government. It'll be interesting to see if this government will be able to stand up to the demands of the public.
Meanwhile, protests are sweeping Spain as well.