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Monday, March 3, 2014
Greece: Riot Police Attack Teachers
From: Teacher Solidarity
This website has received shocking footage of riot police beating and attacking teachers, school cleaners and other public servants, who were protesting on Friday against the suspension and firing of their colleagues. Last month teachers had staged a one day strike against the sackings, which are due to be made permanent at the end of March. On Friday, teachers in the union OLME and the public service union ADEDY protested in front of the meeting of the Troika and the government, which was scheduled to finalise the dismissals and other cuts to public services. The government responded with brutality, sending in the riot police to attack the demonstrators with tear gas and batons.
Four of the demonstrators had such serious injuries that they had to be hospitalised, including the President of the local authority workers' union. Eighteen protesters were arrested including the President of OLME, Themis Kotsifakis, who himself is one of the teachers facing dismissal. Another teacher who was arrested had his arm broken by police in the course of the arrest. As Kotsifakis declared, 'They are the terrorists, not the people!'
In a statement, OLME says: We will not be terrified by any attack. We will continue our struggle so that not a single one of our colleagues, not a single one of any worker is fired. We struggle for permanent and stable jobs for everyone. The terrorism will not be tolerated. Our struggle will continue until Victory The protests lasted for seven hours, during which time the police continued to use tear gas. Meanwhile, in the meeting, the Troika pressed the government to draw up a new list of suspensions for 2014 and to expedite this year's 12,500 public service dismissals, including 2500 teachers.
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The rest of OLME's statement is pasted below:
We denounce the unprecedented violent incidents caused by the continuous attacks of the police wherever we had manifestations of protest against the suspensions – dismissals, against the policies of the Greek Government, the IMF and the EU.
The Government, scared by the growing reaction of workers struggling for their right to permanent and stable jobs, released the forces of repression to terrify us. So, since the morning, after attacking the activist protest of teachers, school guards, cleaning women and other public servants on suspension waiting for their dismissal, the police proceeded to 17 adductions of teachers and school guards, the President of OLME, Themis Kotsifakis, included.
The same situation was repeated later in front of the Minister of Finance, where the police forces showed an incredibly violent behavior, repulsing and hitting the demonstrators and doing extensive use of chemical gas. From these attacks 4 of the demonstrators were injured and transferred to the hospital. Among them the President of POE-OTA (union of local authorities’ workers) Th. Balassopoulos, while Gr. Kalomiris, teacher and member of the Executive Board of ADEDY (Confederation of public servants) was arrested and accused of disobedience and insult of authority!!
We denounce the autocratic actions of the Greek Government and the police violence. - See more at: http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/riot-police-attack-teachers-in-greece#sthash.zzjrCBRU.dpuf