Lord Blankfein, the peasants are revolting! Lloyd: "I know, they stink on ice."
Greek air-traffic controllers and teachers walked off their jobs and shopkeepers shuttered their stores to challenge Prime Minister George Papandreou’s latest decision to cut wages and pensions and raise taxes in return for a 110 billion-euro ($143 billion) rescue package. Protesters trying to gain access to the parliament building clashed with helmeted and padded riot police and threw sticks and stones and chanted slogans when they were repulsed. Police, who said 18,000 people are participating in the marches, shot tear gas at other protesters who lobbed rocks and set trashcans on fire at the central bank building near the parliament.
Today’s general strike, the third this year, follows Papandreou’s announcement of a second set of wage cuts for public workers, a three-year freeze on pensions and a second increase this year in sales taxes and the price of fuel, alcohol and tobacco in return for a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Union groups have called the austerity measures “savage.” Demonstrators daubed “IMF OUT” in red paint on pillars around the centrally located Finance Ministry. Most stores in the main shopping street of Ermou were open for business, with some lowering shutters over display windows to protect against any violence.
- Air traffic controllers shut down Greek airspace
- Government workers shut schools and hospitals
- Gas stations closed to protest the fuel-tax
- Dock workers grounded the ferried
- Power company employees are striking
- Journalists are on strike so there is no local news covering any of it!
It’s one thing to have these egg-headed discussions about austerity and cutbacks and for the EU and the IMF to get together and tell the Greek people it’s time to pay their debts but it’s quite another thing to actually get it past the people who’s lives these measures will affect. Imagine if the IMF told Americans that we needed to cut government spending by $1.5Tn (the equivalent) and that wages would be frozen and retirement will be raised from 65 to 70 effective immediately so hopefully you die at work and save us the Social Security payments…. We have Tea Party protests now!