Protesters have forced their way into a government building in the Greek capital Athens amid plans to stage a 24-hour anti-austerity strike. At least one person suffered injuries after around 30 protesters stormed the Labor Ministry building of Yiannis Vroutsis in central Athens on Wednesday. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters and arrested 20 people in the demonstration organized by a Communist-backed labor union. Members of the union urge the government to sack the planned reforms to the country’s pension and income contribution system as the eurozone creditors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tighten the leash on Athens’ expenditure.
Transport workers and other state employees are set to stage a 24-hour strike on Thursday to push the government to reconsider the measures that have rocked the country.Protesters in the Thursday walkout intend to abandon ferries at ports countrywide, as well as disrupt the bus and rail services in the Greek capital. The Greek government has made a 25 percent cut to the wages of public sector workers earlier in January, which had sparked a 10-day strike from Athens Metro workers that ended on Friday and caused havoc to the system’s 1.1 million daily commuters. Athens took stern action against the metro workers’ strike by declaring civil mobilization on the protest after a court ruled the demonstrations illegal. The government threatened to fire the workers unless they came back to work. The rounds of tax hikes and spending cuts, introduced since mid-2010, have deepened hardships for the Greeks, leading to protests across the debt-ridden country. GVN/JR