Thousands of unionists flocked to downtown Athens on Monday morning to celebrate the International Labor Day as the government and creditors agree on additional austerity measures.
No more austerity is the central slogan of public and private sector unions ADEDY and GSEE. the established unions managed to get together just a few hunderds people. Reasons is suspected to be either many union mebers had left Athesn over the long weekend, or that people have turned their back to the unions.
As usual, Greece’s unions did not come together for one joint protest. Unionists of Communist party KKE PAME met at Syntagma square and marched towards the US embassy. As PAME has a strict discipline, the communist union managed to gather the biggest group of May marchers with 10,000 people.
Other groups, like leftist political parties and organizations met at Omonoia square.
Labor Day protests were held also in Piraeus, Thessaloniki and other big cities across the country. However, protesters were way below 2,000 people participating at each demonstration.
The ‘struggling’ part of ruling left-wing SYRIZA called on citizens to participate on Labor Day protests. Labor Minister Efi Ahtsioglou said May 1st is “the day of honor and struggle.”
Then she went to Hilton hotel where the creditors stay and put the last touch on the agreement with the country’s lenders, I suppose.
Former SYRIZA members of ex Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis marched up to Hilton Hotel and made moves to break the police cordon and enter in the hotel.
“Here they cook the 4. bailout, the catastrophe of Greece,” Lafazanis said adding “It the Hilton that governs Greece, the creditors.” Then the party and members of the Palestinian community in Athens continued the march towards the Israeli embassy.
The Greek Labor Day is marked with the death of workers and freedom fighters.
Greek celebrate The International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day, to commemorate the workers’ rally and the strike for an eight-hour working day in Chicago on May 4 1886. But also the Haymarket Affair that cost the lives of several strikers by police.
The first International Workers Day was celebrated in Greece in 1892. It was launched by the socialist association of Spyros Kallergis. In the following year, 2,000 workers demonstrated for an 8-hour day, one day off -Sunday- and social security for the victims of accidents during work. In 1894, the protest ends in the arrest of 1o workers and the crash of the labor rights movement.
In 1936, tobacco workers occupied a factory in Thessaloniki demanding labor rights. Th state used police and the army against the strikers. By May, a total of 12 workers were killed and 300 injured.
On May 1st 1944, two hundred Greek communists and left-wing freedom fighers were executed by the Nazi occupation forces at the shooting range of Kaisariani, suburb of Athens.
Hot May 2017
GSEE and ADEDY plan a general strike on May 17th, the day it is estimated the additional austerity measures will be voted at the Greek Parliament.
Retail shop owners and workers will launch a strike on May 7th to protest the planned measures that all shops can be open at all Sundays of the year.