Mayors,civil employees protest against Greek austerity measures

10:32, April 09, 2010      

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Mayors and local government employees demonstrated Thursday in front of the Interior Ministry against recently implemented austerity measures.

The Greek central government has decided to cut funds for local governments by 35 percent in a bid to reduce the country's budget deficit.

Mayors who supported the 24-hour strike complained that operations of local governments would be affected with such decreases in funds.

"We recognize that it is a difficult period for our country because of the economic crisis," said Dimitris Kalogeropoulos, mayor of Egaleo, a municipality west of Athens.

"Local government was always ready to make the necessary sacrifices. When Greece joined the eurozone we accepted cutbacks up to 1.4 billion euros (1.87 billion U.S. dollars) from the central government. But we do not accept unfair changes without prior consultations," Kalogeropoulos said.

Vasilis Papageorgopoulos, mayor of Thessaloniki, said that due to the fund cutbacks, cities and municipalities will be obliged to reduce spendings on services offered to citizens for free, such as care for children after school and programs which help elderly people who live alone.

Local government employees warned that there would be more strikes and protests in the future.

As Greeks have returned to work after the Easter holidays, a new round of strikes and demonstrations against austerity measures started.

Protesters expressed their worries on more strict measures.

Another two demonstrations were to be held in front of the Greek parliament later Thursday and the country's public sector umbrella union, ADEDY, considers calling one more general strike later in April.

Source: Xinhua


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