Financial problems are leading us to a full scale humanitarian crisis, that is why the police are arresting union members out of pure fear." A Greek protesterThousands of Greek workers have taken to the streets in the capital Athens to demand the release of imprisoned union members, Press TV reports. Angry protesters gathered near Athens Prosecutor's Office on Thursday, calling for the release of some 35 union members arrested a day earlier. “The government is afraid of a widespread uprising … Labor unions will continue their protest until this government stops its financial measures… Financial problems are leading us to a full scale humanitarian crisis, that is why the police are arresting union members out of pure fear,” said a protester during the rally.
On Wednesday, the Greek police detained union members who had stormed the Labor Ministry building in central Athens. Reports said that police used tear gas to disperse the protesters.Members of the unions have called on the government to abandon the planned reforms to the country’s pension and income distribution system as the eurozone creditors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tighten the leash on Athens’ expenditure. The Greek government made a 25-percent cut to the wages of public sector workers earlier in January, sparking a 10-day strike by Athens Metro workers and causing havoc on the transport system. Athens took stern action against the metro workers’ strike by issuing civil mobilization orders after a court ruled the demonstrations illegal. The government threatened to fire the workers unless they returned 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. MAM/HMV