Pictures of shame in the heart of the Greek capital: men and women on wheelchairs, blinds with walking sticks. They had to stage a protest rally in order to get an appointment with the Finance Minister. Knowing the famous “Greek reality” one can easily imagine, how they moved from one state institution to the next and from one ministry to the other, in order to draw attention to their problems. They joined forces and launched a rally in order to protest the difficult situation of thousands of disabled Greeks who suffer from the cuts in welfare benefits.
Banner – “Imagine: And handicapped and poor”
Members of the Panhellenic Association of Paraplegics but also representatives of the association of the blind gathered outside the Finance Ministry seeking an appointment with Yiannis Stournaras.
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Among the protesters was Grigoris Polychronidis who won a Gold Medal in Boccia at Paralympics 2012. “Hardly we returned to Greece and we have to fight against other, more powerful competitors, ” he said adding ” We have learned to struggle.” The chairman of the Paralympics Committee was also there.
“You are handicapped – Down to Kaiadas*!”
The protesters complained about the upcoming elimination of social benefits for disabled, including that of tax-free amount. They also complained about the “third-world” situation in foundations for the disabled.
Surreal! Banner “Mister Schaeuble, did we sign the Memorandum for our wheelchairs?”
When protesters were informed that Stournaras had no time to meet them “due to other appointments”, they threatened to stay outside the ministry until the evening. They left with an appointment scheduled for next Tuesday in their pockets.
PS At lest they were lucky not to have been tear-gassed as last year.
*Kaiadas(Keadas): the chasm of Mount Taygetos where Ancient Spartans use to throw the elderly and the handicapped children to die.
It is sad to know that governments need to cut down financial benefits to PWD’s. It is already tough for them and I think the government should make things happen to make their lives better. Giving benefit of the doubt, I’m not really certain if it is because of a down economy or if the reduced funds will be put to better use.