THIRTY-SIX trade unionists, including members of the GSEE (Greek TUC) general council, were attacked by the riot police with tear gas and truncheons and were arrested last Wednesday morning outside the Labour Ministry building in Athens.
Two parliamentary deputies of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) were also attacked. Nine workers were injured and taken to hospital.
The trade unionists, from construction and textiles industries, as well as representatives of retired workers, had gone to the office of the Labour Minister to protest against the destruction of the pensions system. The action was organised by the PAME, the trade union section of the Greek Communist Party.
The thirty-six were taken to the Greek police HQ. Thousands of workers gathered outside demanding their release. The thirty-six were charged with ‘disturbing the peace’ and ‘causing damage to property’ and appeared in court yesterday morning.
About 1,000 workers once again gathered outside the court demanding their release.
The riot police attack and the mass arrest of trades unionists took place on the eve of a 48-hour national strike by seafarers, hospital workers and Athens bus and trolley workers against the Greek coalition government’s public sector cuts, wage reductions and mass sackings.
The Athens Metro and tram workers are still bound up by the dictatorial ‘civil conscription’ law, which means that if they refuse to work they will get arrested and tried.