Teargas was fired and unionists were beaten outside the Labour Ministry in downtown Athens when riot police moved to ‘free’ the ministers’ office symbolically occupied by members of Greek Communist Party (KKE) union PAME.
Video: riot police carries protester outside the ministry
Around 10.30 in the morning, some 30 PAME members moved to the eight floor of the ministry and symbolically occupied the office of Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis. The minister was not there. Outside the building on Stadiou street, another 50 PAME members had gathered to support their colleagues.
Video: unionists clash with police. Unionists shout “Killers!”, “You should be ashamed, your fathers are here!”
While the occupiers were negotiating with the ministry staff to get an appointment with Vroutsis, riot police moved in with the order to detain them.
The development came as expected: Protesting unionists outside the building started to hurl stones against the police entering the ministry, the police fired tear gas, some unionists were beaten, some others detained. Greke media speak of 3 injured with one awaiting to be transferred to the hospital.
While the tension was diffused for a short time, it revived and according to latest information, the occupiers are currently ‘trapped’ at the entrance of the ministry.
Why the protest?
PAME members occupied the ministry to protest Vroutsis’ statements on Tuesday, that “the social security system is based on clientelism.”
Responding to Vroutsis’ statement, KKE issued a statement saying:
“The Labour Minister, with the “boldness of a thief” blames the workers who have been robbed by governments, big businessmen and the banks, who ravaged the reserves of insurance funds for decades. [he blames thw workers] that the pensions and the benefits were the result of “clientelism mentality”. Employees and particularly the younger generation must rise up to put an end to the ongoing crime against them. The government and EU have one aim: to give no basic insurance and benefits and to get an allowance instead of a pension up to their old age.”
And here is KTG’s notice on the issue insurance funds and clientelism:
For decades, the political parties that had a saying in governing the country (PASOK, Nea Dimocratia) had managed to “push” several ‘interest groups’ to get social security in several social security funds. For example, diaspora Greeks from Albania and the former UDSSR got insured at OGA (Farmers’ pension fund) and were receiving 300 euro pension per month even without having paid contributions. The ‘clientelism’ trade was ‘insurance/pension’ against “votes”, a system that started in the early 1990’s.
Similar was the motive of political parties to get insured Greeks – even from abroad – to the NAT (seamen/sailors’ fund).
Not to mention all the fake “disable pensions and benefits” given by Greece’s biggest insurance fund IKA in a clientelism and corruption network of local politicians, doctors and beneficiaries with a party book.
Not to mention the ‘games’ with insurance funds assets and shares in the Athens stock Exchange and the Greek bonds swap in March 2012, that gave the latest punch in the funds assets.
Now that the country has turned into an international beggar and the state mechanism collapse, Minister Vroutsis seeks the easy path of ‘tricky rhetoric’ and blames workers and employees for having apparently exploit the insurance funds… With what? With their contributions?
To hear such statements by somebody who started his political career already in the youth organization of Nea Dimocratia and held several posts in local governments is provocative and challenging…