Violence breaks out at Athens protest

ATHENS, Greece -- Sporadic clashes broke out in central Athens Thursday as tens of thousands marched to the Greek Parliament during a general strike called to protest planned pension reforms that are part of the country's third international bailout.

See Full Article

Dozens of hooded anarchists threw petrol bombs and stones at riot police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police said a journalist was attacked by rioters and taken to hospital but was not in serious condition.

Overall, police said about 40,000 people took part in two separate, consecutive demonstrations through central Athens. Smaller protests were held in other major cities.

Unions are angry at pension reforms that are part of Greece's third international bailout. The left-led government is trying to overhaul the country's ailing pension system by increasing social security contributions to avoid pension cuts, but critics say the reforms will lead many to lose two-thirds of their income.

Opposition to the reform has been vociferous, uniting a disparate group of professions, including farmers, artists, taxi drivers, lawyers, doctors, engineers and seamen among others.

Thursday's general strike is the most significant the coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has faced since he initially came to power a little more than a year ago. As an opposition party, Tsipras' radical left Syriza party had led opposition to pension reforms, but he was forced to ditch his earlier stance when faced with the stark choice of signing up to a third bailout or the country having to leave the euro currency.

Syriza's difficulties with the pension reform plan were evident in the party's statement that it was backing Thursday's strike.

Athens pensioner Yannis Kouvalakis said Tsipras' government "fooled" Greeks by promising to reverse austerity cuts.

"Because they are from the left, what happened? Was the situation saved? Things got worse. They'd said they'd give some money to pensioners or the unemployed, increase the minimum wage to 750 euros (per month)," he said. "They cut five euros from my pension ... What can they give? Forget it."

The strike comes as the government negotiates with Greece's international debt inspectors, who returned to Athens this week to review progress on the country's bailout obligations. The central Athens hotel where the inspectors were staying was heavily guarded by police.

Ferries between Greece's islands and the mainland remained tied up in port as part of the strike, while only limited public transport was operating in Athens for a few hours in the day and taxis also stayed off the streets. More than a dozen domestic flights were cancelled, while farmers maintained their blockades of highways that have forced motorists into lengthy detours.

State-run hospitals were functioning on emergency staff, while state schools, many shops and gas stations were shut.

Now: Tear gas & cocktail bombs in Syntagma in middle of large demonstration during today's general strike #Greecepic.twitter.com/OmPdFkGqXF

— Daphne Tolis (@daphnetoli) February 4, 2016


Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Alberta Railway Museum steam locomotive coming out of retirement for Canada 150 [Photos] [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The 104-year-old Montreal Locomotive Works 1392 is packed up and ready get back on the tracks for the first time in 62 years. The 1913 locomotive acquired by the Alberta Railway Museum in 1971, which served in the Edmonton-area in the 1950s on work and weed trains, will be back in action as part of the Rails and Tales Canada 150 celebrations. Source
  • Ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest guilty on 37 of 57 charges in sex trial

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    SAINT-JEROME, Que. — Former high-performance ski coach Bertrand Charest was found guilty Thursday of 37 of the 57 charges against him in connection with sexual relations with his students. The 57 counts included sexual assault and breach of trust involving 12 females who were between 12 and 19 at the time of the offences and alleged offences. Source
  • Republicans unveil bill to replace Obamacare, change Medicaid

    World News CBC News
    Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama's health care law, proposing to cut Medicaid for low-income Americans and erase tax boosts that Obama imposed on high-earners and medical companies to finance his expansion of coverage. Source
  • Power still off for 400 properties in Red Deer after Tuesday's windstorm

    Canada News CTV News
    RED DEER, Alta. -- The City of Red Deer says 400 homes and business are still without power after a violent windstorm hit central Alberta earlier this week. In an update on its website, the city says it could be another two days before electricity is restored to everyone. Source
  • Legal clinic challenges Ontario panhandling law as unconstitutional

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A Toronto legal clinic has launched a constitutional challenge against an Ontario law that targets panhandling. The Fair Change clinic argues that the Safe Streets Act violates the rights of people who beg for money, including freedom of expression, the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Source
  • 6.8-magnitude earthquake measured in Guatemala's Pacific coast

    World News CBC News
    A major earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala on Thursday, damaging buildings and downing trees as well as causing powerful tremors in neighbouring El Salvador. There were no reports of casualties. The quake, measured at a magnitude of 6.8 by the U.S. Source
  • Woman lights cigarette at end of wild police pursuit

    World News Toronto Sun
    Los Angeles police say a woman led officers on a wild chase in a suspected stolen car that lasted a half-hour and ended when she crashed into a pole. Officials say at one point during the pursuit early Thursday the suspect stopped the sedan suddenly and then backed up and rammed a patrol car. Source
  • Champs Elysees attacker had arsenal of weapons: prosecutor

    World News CBC News
    The man behind this week's attempted attack in Paris's Champs Elysees had been to Turkey several times in 2016 where authorities questioned him over large amounts of gold and jewelry in his possession, and had a huge arsenal of weapons, the Paris prosecutor said. Source
  • N.S. government sends teen suicide expert to Cape Breton to address deaths

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government is sending an expert on youth mental health and suicide to Cape Breton in the wake of several teen suicides. It says Dr. Stan Kutcher will go there Monday to talk to "families, schools, and the community" about addressing mental health concerns. Source
  • Holocaust survivor asked to move seats to accommodate Ultra-Orthodox Jew wins Israeli court case against El Al Airlines

    World News Toronto Sun
    JERUSALEM — An advocacy group representing an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor suing Israel’s national airline for discrimination says it’s won the case. The Israel Religious Action Center representing Renee Rabinowitz on Thursday called this week’s ruling “revolutionary.” It said an El Al flight attendant asked Rabinowitz to move from her seat next to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man on a flight from Newark to Tel Aviv following his request. Source