Rare scenes in Greece: Protesting policemen were confronted by riot policemen, with the latter threatening the first, that they would fire tear gas. These unprecedented scenes occurred on Thursday morning outside the police academy in Goudi suburb of Athens. Protesting policemen had gathered outside the police academy in order to prohibit police squads leave the academy and be transferred to Thessaloniki where possible mass protests are expected over the weekend during the International Fair.
Wearing special vests, the policemen had blocked the entrance of the academy form the early morning hours, protesting the upcoming cuts in wages and demanding to be paid for outstanding compensations for night-shifts and off-site working. A total debt of 10 million euro.
The moments of tension between protesting and riot policemen were a lot, and some dialogue looked like that:
Riot police head: ” Colleagues, do not force me to fire tear gas. I have children too and I have understanding for your demands, but I have orders as well. If you insist, we will have injuries.
“We’ve seen this film before,” replied the protesters.
Video: Tension Police vs Police
Voices: “Get a prosecutor here!, “Shame!Shame!”, “Guys, sit down, please, I have orders!”
The worst was averted with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ intervention. Greek media report that the Police Chief contacted Finance Minister Stournaras who contacted Samaras, who assured the chief of Hellenic Police that the outstanding debts will be paid.
Protesters threatened to resume demonstrations, should the promises be not kept. Zougla.gr reported that police unions threatened not to work in night- and weekend-shifts if they do not receive their payments.
On Wednesday in a surprise protest and without previous notice, members of policemen, coastal guards and firefighters unions raised a banner outside the office of the Prime Minister, when Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, appointed by Angela Merkel to monitor EU funds in Greece, paid a visit to Samaras.
Banner: “No rebates and cuts fit to the good of national security”.
H-J Fuchtel reportedly commented “I am a democrat, I respect the protests, but we need to convince everyone that the road Greece is marching is the only salvation”.
Despite promises and admonitions, policemen, firefighters and coastal guards will gather later today, at 5:30 pm in front of the Panathinaiko Stadium to protest the upcoming cuts in their wages that will be implemented as soon as the 11.5-billion-euro package is passed at the Greek parliament. And thus 6%-7.5%restrospective from 1. July 2012, 12% as of 1.1.2013.
A couple of days ago, it was said that also members of the military forces would join Thursday afternoon protest, however for the time being the officers remain silent. We’ll see.