Friday, June 3, 2011

Greek protesters seize finance ministry

The Greek finance ministry building, on which protesters hang a giant banner calling for a general strike in Athens, June 3, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Greek protesters have taken over the finance ministry building in Athens as the country agreed with its European partners to introduce new austerity measures in return for a new bailout package.

Protesters belonging to the left-wing The All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) union unfolded a giant banner from the roof of the finance ministry building on the central Syntagma square, calling for a nationwide strike against the new austerity measures that the government agreed to take in return for the new bailout package.

"From dawn today forces of PAME have symbolically occupied the finance ministry, calling on workers to rise, organize their struggle and prevent the government's barbarous and anti-popular measures from passing," the front said, AFP reported.

Angry citizens in the country have now, for a tenth consecutive day, held anti-government demonstrations against the austerity measures.

Protesters have set up a camp in the central square of the capital, in a move modeled after the Spanish M-15 movement and the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

The new bailout plan will mean harsher austerity measures, as it is aimed at reducing the 2011 budget deficit by EUR 6.5 billion. PAME said the new plan would “turn workers into slaves.”

The plan, however, is set to be approved by EU finance ministers on June 20. Additionally, the government will also commence its EUR 50 billion privatization program.

Greece received a EUR 110 billion EU-IMF bailout loan last year, as it faced a massive debt crisis, but did not manage to resolve its financial problems.

Since last year, Greece has witnessed massive anti-government protests which turned violent at times and left scores of protesters and security forces dead or injured.

A poll conducted recently found that the majority of Greeks no longer have confidence their government can pull the country out of its national debt.

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