Greek Riot Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters
Riot police used tear gas on protesters in Athens, Greece, on Friday, as thousands of people gathered in the streets to demonstrate against a new austerity bill coming up for a vote Monday.
The police deployed tear gas when a small group of demonstrators tried to enter the parliament building. No arrests or injuries were reported.
The bill, which has triggered demonstrations all week in the Greek capital, is expected to be one of the last major packages of cuts before the end of Greece’s EU bailout package in August. It would limit workers’ rights to strike and speed up property foreclosures.
Friday’s strike involved a disruption in Athens public transport. On Monday, the protest is expected to continue with a work stoppage by air traffic controllers from noon to 3 p.m. local time. The public transport strike is expected to continue, along with stoppages by hospital workers.
The General Confederation of Greek Workers union (GSEE) said the bill “deals a killing blow to to workers, pensioners and the unemployed … effectively eliminating even constitutionally safeguarded rights, such as the right to strike,” according to the French news agency AFP.
Since the bailout, Greece’s economic prospects have improved, increasing the country’s chances of functioning effectively without its EU safety net for the first time in nine years.