Greek TV news report of the protest Greek secondary school teachers and public servants were violently attacked by riot police as they protested a spate of Troika-lead dismissals. The demonstration, outside the Ministry of Administrative Reform in Athe …


Greek TV news report of the protest

Greek secondary school teachers and public servants were violently attacked by riot police as they protested a spate of Troika-lead dismissals. The demonstration, outside the Ministry of Administrative Reform in Athens, was held on Friday the 28th of February, to protest a series of dismissals of permanent teachers and other public servants that will be forced through on the 22nd of March.

The demonstrations took place while representatives of the Troika were discussing a timetable for the dismissals with ministers of the Greek Government. Tens of thousands of public sector workers are set to lose their jobs on the orders of the Troika – the unelected triumvirate of the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

The demonstration was fiercely attacked by the police. There were four injuries and 18 arrests of teachers and other public employees. In a statement released to the media, the secondary school teachers’ union OLME said:

“We denounce the unprecedented violent incidents caused by the continuous attacks of the police wherever we protest against the suspensions and dismissals, against the policies of the Greek Government, the IMF and the EU.

The Government, scared by the growing reaction of workers struggling for their right to permanent and stable jobs, released the forces of repression to terrify us.

So, since the morning, after attacking the activist protest of teachers, school guards, cleaning women and other public servants on suspension waiting for their dismissal, the police abducted 18 teachers and school guards, including the oresident of OLME, Themis Kotsifakis. The same situation was repeated later in front of the Minister of Finance, where the police forces showed incredibly violent behaviour, repulsing and hitting the demonstrators and making extensive use of chemical gas.

From these attacks four of the demonstrators were injured and taken to hospital. Among them was the president of POE-OTA  (the union of local authoriy workers) Th. Balassopoulos, while Gr. Kalomiris, teacher and member of the executive board of ADEDY (confederation of public servants) was arrested and accused of disobedience and insult of authority.

We denounce the autocratic actions of the Greek Government and the police violence.

We declare that we will not be terrified by any attack. We will continue our struggle so that not a single one of our colleagues, not a single worker anywhere is fired.

We struggle for permanent and stable jobs for everyone.

The terrorism will not be tolerated.

Our struggle will continue until victory.”

Activist video footage of the teachers’ protest

Translated transcript of news report

Siege of the troika meeting with the Minister of Administrative Reform discussing the dismissals of public servants. Teachers, school guards and cleaning women, in front of definitive dismissals in 22 days.

Arrests of trade unionists, tension and injuries.

For the last 7 hours, demonstrators face the police. Tension and violence.

As the result of frequent use of chemical gas by the police, a woman loses consciousness. By her unconscious body, her colleagues are being repulsed by the police.

The orders are clear: demonstrators must not approach the Ministry of Finance and the members of the troika.

Early in the morning, demonstrators tried to enter the Ministry of Administrative Reform.

At a small distance of the Ministry of Finance, trade unionists attempt to “break” the barrier of the police.

Grigoris Kalomiris, teacher and trade unionist, is violently arrested. His arm is broken. His colleagues are struggling to set him free. Between them, the President of POE-OTA. The police are violently repulsing them. One more trade unionist lies injured in the street.

Themis Kotsifakis, President of OLME speaking on the camera: they are the terrorists, not the people.

A big operation is set by the police, so that the members of the troika can leave safely the Ministry of Finance. A bottle of water hits Paul Tomsen’s car.

In the meeting, the troika pressed for three things:

• Setting of the target for new suspensions in 2014

• The names of 12,500 of public servants for the second wave of suspensions in 2013 with a new deadline for March 2014

• The acceleration of the 11,000 dismissals in the public sector, provided in the memorandum for 2014


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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