DOCTORS, nurses, trades unionists, workers and youth took part in protests at the entrances of many hospitals throughout Greece yesterday morning against the government’s inability to provide mass tests, protective clothing and masks and appoint the necessary doctors and nurses to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The action was called by the Greek National Health Service doctors’ union OENGE as a Day of Action on World Health Day 7th April.
Hundreds took part at each protest at the hospitals in Athens and the industrial port and city of Piraeus.
At the Evagelismos hospital in the centre of Athens police squads attempted to break up the doctors, health staff and trade unionists participating in the meeting. But they were forced to turn away booed by doctors and workers.
Some 150 workers, youth and trades unions delegations with their banners held a meeting yesterday lunchtime at the Nikea General Hospital in the working class district of Piraeus.
Surgeon Panos Papanikolaou of the OENGE Executive, speaking at the meeting, strongly condemned the police action against doctors and nurses at the Evagelismos Hospital and demanded the resignation of the Public Order Minister Khrisokhoides.
Papanikolaoy said: ‘They applaud us for our work, but when doctors stand up and demand anti-coronavirus protection for the people and for themselves and demonstrate, then we are terrorists.’
The President of the PENEN trade union (seafarers’ crews) Andonis Delakeoyiorghos said that many ferry crew members have been taken ill as they were not provided with the necessary equipment. He agreed with the OENGE’s demand for the requisition of the private hospitals and of the private health sector.
PENEN and Athens-Piraeus hospital staff and doctors trade union branches are organising another protest next Tuesday.