Greece's two largest trade union federations, representing private and public sector workers respectively, have called a 24-hour general strike on Sept. 26, which will include a rally starting at 11:00 A.M. The General Confederation of Greek Workers, representing the private sector, said it rejected new minimum wages and hourly rates in the private sector, the abolition of collective bargaining, and the plans by the European Community-European Central Bank-International Monetary Fund "Troika" to reduce redundancy rates and increase the age of retirement.
While demonstrations are being reported in the main English-language media, it is the details being left out which reveal the bitterness and rage that is reaching unprecedented levels. Here we list some demos, which were reported on last week, but about which we now know what actually happened.
Policemen and firefighters held a protest last week in front of the Finance Ministry. They had one policeman, one firefighter, and one coast guard officer conduct a mock "hanging" of themselves, while demonstrators chanted "Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!" "Take the memorandum and get out of here!" "A magic night like in Argentina!" "Thugs, traitors, politicians!" and "We'll get into the Parliament!" These are the same slogans used last year by the "Indignant Greeks." The mock hanging had a dual symbolism, both that the people are being driven to suicide, and that those being hanged will be those making the cuts. The 5,000-plus policemen, firefighters, and coast guards protested the 7% cut in their salaries retroactive to July, and rising to 12% in 2013. The demonstrating police clashed with the riot police during the demonstration.
Members of Parliament came out in support of the demo from all the opposition parties, including Syriza and the Independent Greeks, as well as the Fascist Golden Dawn.
Last week we reported that pensioners had demonstrated in front of the Health Ministry in Thessaloniki demanding to see the minister. Now it is reported that the pensioners, once told they could not see the minister, stormed the building, pushing aside security guards, and forced their way into the minister's office, who was left with no choice but to have a meeting, which nonetheless did not satisfy the senior citizens at all, who proceeded to hold a bigger demo earlier this week in Athens.