(Greece) – Greek pensioners who took to the streets near Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ office to protest austerity measures that have resulted in pension cuts. More than a thousand protesters who receive pensions chanted in Greek,”Shame on you.” Some of the protestors used canes to prop themselves up while chanting. One group of pensioners tried to tip over a police bus. It was this act that caused the police to act. In response to the group who tried to tip over the bus, police fired tear gas into the crowd, which caused many of them to run away in a panic. After it was over, no arrests were made and no injuries were reported.
The opposition party, however, criticized the action by police and as a result of that, the police said they were banning the use of tear gas at worker and pensioner rallies. As part of its most recent bailout, the government imposed new austerity measures on the pension system. The new austerity measures that were required by the international creditors and the International Monetary Fund have resulted in pension cuts, tax increases, and public salary cuts. Nearly 1/4 of the overall population in Greece is still out of work, and many of the people in Greece have lost their eligibility for state benefits.
Protest organizer Dimos Koumbouris said, “This is a fight for our life. The country has been driven to desperation.They have torn our income to shreds — taking money that people earned with hard work. We have to protest today and keep protesting. There’s no other option.”
Currently in Greece, 52% of households rely on these pensions to help them meet their daily needs. Public discontent has increased as Prime Minister Tsipras is getting ready to approve another round of austerity measures, which will unlock a second wave of funds from the country’s third bailout since 2010.