That was a dynamic action nobody had dared to expect from pensioners who proved more brisk and vital than one would have thought. Some 200 pensioners from Greece’s biggest insurance fund IKA stormed the Health Ministry in Athens on Tuesday morning, when they were denied a meeting with minister Andreas Lykourentzos.
Banners: “Disobedientce”, “Money for Healthcare”, Free Healthcare”
They first gathered outside the Ministry chanting slogans against pensions cuts and protesting the shortcomings in health care, where they have to pay for prescription medicine and doctors’ visits.
They sought a meeting with the Minister Andreas Lykourentzos.
When the meeting with the minister was denied, they took the security personnel by surprise, stormed the entrance of the building and managed to reach outside the minister’s office.
Members of security tried to stop them from storming the minister’s office, however the sprightly pensioners would not step back. They chanted slogans demanding from the government to take back measures that decrease their pensions.
Some Greek media report the minister came out asking them to be quiet, other claim, a pensioners’ delegation had a chat with Lykourentzos for just a couple of minutes inside his office.
Inside or outside the office, the issue is Dimos Koumpouris, chairman of IKA-pensioners Association, told the crowd the minister had called them “liars” and “bullies”.
“The minister called us ‘bullies’, he said he doesn’t believe we have to pay for drugs from our own pockets,” Kumpouris told the angry crowd.
Video: chairman Koumpuris/statement/pensioners’ voices
Kumpouris: “The minister’s behaviour was the most vulgar and fascistic. First, we were told he was not in the office, then he accepted to meet us. …He told us, we were lying that there were no drugs and no doctors. He called us ‘bullies’…” The crowd chants “Out!Out!Out!”, the chaiman says “Shame! Shame! Shame!”.
“Sources from minister’s office did not confirm the expressions claimed by Koumpouris. They said, the minister asked them to be quiet and he would talk with them once they have calmed down.”(To Vima)
Pensioners of all private and public sector insurance fund plan a bigger dynamic rally on Saturday, September 11th 2012, at Kotzia Square in Athens.