Powerful pictures, full of symbolism: one policeman, one firefighter and one coastal guard “hang” themselves outside the Greek Finance Ministry in downtown Athens, near the Greek Parliament. They stand there for a couple of minutes. Silent. The crowd chants: “Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!”
Video: Protesting Policemen – Gallows outside the Finance Ministry/slogans
The symbolic “hanging” could have two readings: a) to demonstrate that cuts on their wages send them to death b) to send a clear message to Greece’s rulers, especially those at the Finance Ministry.
More than 5,000 policemen, firefighters and coastal guards chant “Take the memorandum and get out of here”, “A magic night like in Argentina”, “Thugs, traitors, politicians” and “We’ll get into the Parliament”. Slogans in copy-paste from the protests of “Indignant Greeks” outside the Parliament one year ago.
Uniformed Greeks are angry about additional wages cuts, outstanding payments for nights- and weekend-shifts, for off-site working. Cuts are planned 6%-7.5% retroactive from July 1st this yea and 12% as of 2013.
Policemen from Karditsa, Serres, Katerini, from Crete to Thrace followed the call of their colleagues in Athens and came to the Greek capital to join their voice against the cuts that “we bury them,” as they say.
The protest was supported by political parties and MPs from the opposition like left-wing SYRIZA, extreme-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and nationalists “Independent Greeks”.
Earlier on Thursday, protesting policemen nearly clashed with riot police that came to dissolve the blocking of Police Academy entrance by protesters.
Members of the military did not join Thursday’s protests, despite information that they would. I believe they will organize a protest separately.
PS I assume, when the gallows were set outside the Ministry, inside it personnel and officials wished, they had stayed home this afternoon…