Europe

Police, pensioners clash over austerity measures in Athens

Greek police in the capital city of Athens have clashed with pensioners protesting against the government’s new round of austerity measures.

On Monday, hundreds of Greek pensioners staged a rally outside the office of the European Union (EU) in Athens where police officers used batons to disperse demonstrators.

“They’re taking our lives. They’re clearly trying to push us off a cliff… They don’t need us because capital needs only those who produce cheaply. In us they see the cost of aging and a constant expense. We will not do them any favors,” said Head of a Pensioner Union, Dimos Koumbouris during the rally.

Reports say the protesters also burnt EU flags during the rally.

Meanwhile, anti-austerity protesters are expected to take to the streets in Athens on Tuesday to take part in a protest organized by labor unions and opposition parties against the new cutbacks.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.

On October 1, Greek government unveiled its 2013 draft budget which includes measures that would affect pensions, benefits, and the salaries of civil servants to meet the criteria by the troika of lenders, i.e. the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

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