OVER 5,000 university students and public sector workers held an impressive and militant rally and march in Athens last Thursday against the government’s plans for more barbaric ‘austerity measures’.
University students marched under their large streetwide occupation banners along with school students and local government, health and transport workers as well as civil servants from Ministries.
Local government workers held a 1,000-strong rally and then joined the students’ march. Hundreds of armed riot police wearing gas marks lined up both sides of the march.
The most popular slogans shouted were: ‘In every square and school, permanent struggle for overthrows!’, ‘People are furious, let’s throw out government, European Union and IMF!’ and ‘Enough of diversions, for occupations, conflicts and demonstrations!’.
Two representatives from the Tunis Trades Council, Nortin Tabukbi and Ziond Laschandar, attended the rally and demonstration along with Athens Trades Council vice-president Stathis Trachantzis who said that they have initiated discussions for a Mediterranean Labour Centre to bring together fighting workers from southern Europe and north Africa.
The President of the ADEDY (public sector workers’ federation) Kostas Tsikrikas spoke at the rally but was booed by students who refused to speak following him. Tsikrikas refused to call for the overthrow of the government.
Some 1,000 students affiliated to the Greek Communist Party (KKE) staged their own separate march.
Athens transport workers carried out a total 100-per-cent-solid strike last Thursday and are continuing their 24-hour ‘rolling’ strikes for Monday and Tuesday, when union general meetings will be held.
While students and workers demonstrated outside the Vouli (Greek parliament), the Greek Finance Minister E Venizelos was adamant that the government would impose all conditions dictated by the IMF and EC and stated that Greece would not default like Argentina.
Speaking to the Vouli’s Economic Committee, Venizelos cynically outlined three scenarios for Greece.
The most likely is a ‘haircut’ of some 50 per cent of Greece’s debt, a possibility ‘widely discussed’ according to Venizelos; another scenario envisages a ‘haircut’ of just 20 per cent of the debt; while the third is Greece’s default.