Today scores of people protesting against austerity occupied the offices of the Greek Labour Minister. The occupation ended after two hours - following violent clashes with the police
Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the offices with banners, and chanted “We are not clients, we are workers”… this is in response to comments recently made by the minister, who claimed that the Greek social security system was founded on clientism.
All protesters who refused to leave the area were dispersed after the police fired tear gas canisters, and attacked people with batons. There are several reports of injuries, at least two requiring admission to hospital, and there has been at least 35 arrests.
A government spokesperson has said that:
"Violence in any form must be condemned. The government will not put up with this kind of incident."
Press releases from the government are accusing protesters of causing significant damage to the offices, and to threatening the minister with physical violence. This is refuted by those involved. Dimos Koumbouris, the leader of a pensioners union claims that the damage was caused by the police in their aggressive attempts to gain entry to locked room, and the subsequent removal of occupiers.
The minister himself is quoted as saying:
“The organized raid and attempt to occupy the Labour Ministry by force does not solve workers’ problems. Scuffles and the destruction of public property only cause sadness. I am sorry, because some people aiming to create impressions are setting up a scene of tension and violence.”
Solidarity with the Greek workers…..