Angry municipality workers attacked members of the German delegation and harassed German Consul in Thessaloniki on Thursday morning, outraged about the statement of Merkels’ envoy Hans Joachim Fuchtel that “3,000 municipality workers are needed in Greece to do the work carried out by 1,000 Germans.”
The ugly incidents started at 9.30 when protesters had surrounded the Exhibition Centre of the city and tried to prohibit the meeting between members of Greek-German Assembly and local government officials on the privatization of garbage collection.
Video: protesters/riot police/German Consul
At first, protesters hurled plastic water bottles at the arriving members of the Assembly. When German Consul Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier arrived, the situation got out of control. Protesters surrounded him, allegedly hurled eggs at him, shouted insults and abused him with riot possible being unable to prevent the incident.
Video: Chasing German Consul
The incidents continued with protesters to manage entering inside the Exhibition Centre and riot policemen chasing them through the corridors and halls.
During the protest, German military march songs were to hear from a megaphone.
The demonstration was originally planned to protest the ‘labour reserve’ measures but Fuchtel’s statements on Wednesday were perceived as ‘inflammatory’. However, Merkel’s envoy had managed to enter the conference hall before the incidents started together with Greek interior minister Evripidis Stylianidis.
Nevertheless, the meeting did inde started a bit later than scheduled with the speakers mentioning the incidents.
“I am glad to be here today, glad that some protesters deprived me from some of my manuscript papers so I cannot hold my whole speech,” Obermaier told the audience. He claimed that Fuchtel’s statement were misunderstood.
“There was a misunderstandiing that the Greek-German Assembly want to reduce 3,000 work places in municipalities down to 1,000.”
Hans Joachim Fuchtel spoke of the people’s right to protest. “There are tragic human stories. Understanding is needed. There are serious cuts. I personally believe that in the framework of democracy it is the right of people to demonstrate as they do now outside of these gates. We have to give them the possibility to demonstrate and protest, because this is the right of every citizen in a democracy.”
Fuchtel is deputy Labour Minister. Here are his statements.
According to reports among the municipality workers were also members of trade unions and left-wing parties.
Currently there are still protesters outside the Exhibition Centre, while riot police has cordoned the Exhibition Centre. And there are question marks about the security measures that turned out to have some loop holes…( ethnos.gr, newsit, protothema, zougla)
PS Fuchtel: “We have to give them the possibility to demonstrate and protest” Oh fuchtel….
German “Fuchtel” = English ‘rod’. Expression ‘unter jemands Fuchtel’ = under someone’s thumb