Greek pensioners take to the streets, angry and betrayed – VIDEO
Angry Greek pensioners took to the streets of Athens on Tuesday to protest against the new austerity plan submitted by the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government on Monday. Feeling betrayed by the measures that further burn into their already meager pensions the silver-haired army of giagades and pappoudes (grannies and grand-pahs) rallied with placards.
“No tolerance. Everyone should be out in the streets. We say no to the new agreement against the people. We’re not afraid of a rift with the EU, the capital and their power. We request, we demand the abolition of all memorandums and implementation laws, immediate recovery of all popular income losses,” Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Dimitris Koutsoumbas told PAME protestors in Omonoia square.
Meanwhile, a second rally of pensioners representing all insurance funds took place nearby. Pensioners at both sets of rallies described the imminent deal as a “guillotine for the people” and asked that no more pension cuts are imposed. They united in one group and marched towards Maximos Mansion, the government’s headquarters, to submit their demands to the prime minister.
70 busloads from all around Greece were reportedly unloaded onto the streets of Athens with Greece’s most disadvantaged group reminding the young lads of SYRIZA that they’ve already had their pensions slashed by 40%. Furthermore, Greece has already made pension reforms in 2010 when the official retirement age was lifted to 67 to 65 years for men and 60 years for women and pension funds were merged.
Even so, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis claims that the pension system remains unsustainable despite the fact that nearly 45% of Greece’s 2.5 million retirees now living beneath the poverty line set by the EU with incomes less than 665 euros per month. Over half of Greece’s pensioners fell beneath that line since the crisis started.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had written an article in the daily newspaper Tagesspiegel that said: “The pensions of the elderly are often the last refuge for entire families that have only one or no member working in a country with 25% unemployment in the general population and 50% among young people.”