Greeks took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the government's austerity measures during a 24-hour nationwide labor strike called by the country's two largest umbrella federations GSEE and ADEDY representing the private and public sector respectively.
Although turnout for the main strike rally in Athens was relatively small, participation in the strike was extensive, reaching up to 100 percent at the countries refineries, shipyards and ships, 95 percent in ports, 90 percent in construction, 80 percent in banks, and 85 percent in public utilities and state organisations (DEKO), according to the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE).
The main rally, organised jointly by GSEE and the federation of civil servants' unions ADEDY, was held at the Pedion tou Areos Park in downtown Athens, followed by a march to parliament where the GSEE and ADEDY presidiums handed a resolution to the parliament president and representatives of the political parties.
The resolution stressed that the working people, pensioners and unemployed will continue their fight against the policies that bring recession, unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, and demanded that the tax "thieves" pay.
Addressing the rally, GSEE leader Yannis Panagopoulos said a policy is needed that will remedy the injustices, reinforce salaried workers and place greater weight on addressing unemployment, and stimulating development through the creation of jobs "because that is the big problem of the Greek society", while another GSEE official warned that the economy has been plunged into the deepest recession in the post-war period, with unemployment at 18 percent and one million people living on an annual income of less than 6,000 euros and added that political volition was needed to stamp out contribution evasion and tax dodging.
Demonstrator in serious condition after clashes with police in protest demonstration in Athens
A 31-year-old demonstrator who suffered head wounds in violence in the center of Athens during a 24-hour nationwide labor strike on Wednesday was reported in critical and stable condition on Thursday after undergoing emergency surgery.
In a related development, a police officer was injured after being attacked by a group of approximately 50 people at Nikaia hospital on Thursday where went, together with two colleagues, for a preliminary investigation into the serious injury of the demonstrator.
The police officers managed to escape the livid crowd in their patrol car.
According to a hospital announcement signed by chief of surgery Stamatios Pinis and the injured demonstrator Ioannis Kafkas' attending surgeon Panayotis Papanicolaou, the patient was brought to the hospital by ambulance a few minutes before 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday after a reported beating, and the clinical examinations revealed external wounds to the head and bleeding from the right ear.
The announcement said that the patient presented gradual loss of consciousness and slipped into a coma while being treated in the Emergency Room, and required urgent intubation.
Further examinations revealed fractures to the skull and an extensive cranial hematoma and the patient was rushed to surgery later Wednesday for removal of the hematoma, relief of pressure on the brain and containment of haemorrhage.
The operation was successful, and the patient was in the intensive care unit in a drug-induced coma and on a respirator. Despite the relative stabilisation of his condition, the patient remained in critical condition, the hospital announcement concluded.
Kafkas was injured in clashes with police during a protest march against the government's austerity measures.
Twelve arrested for protest march violence to prosecutor
The twelve arrested for disturbances during Wednesday's protest march and rally in central Athens were led before a public prosecutor on Thursday. Two were minors and were referred to a juvenile court prosecutor.
Of the remaining 10, seven were referred to a regular examining magistrate for criminal offences. The charges against them range from disturbing the peace while having their face concealed to preparation and possession of explosives. The other three face charges for misdemeanours, such as attempt to cause grievous bodily harm, resisting arrest, possession of weapons and others.
Three policemen suspended in serious injury of protestor in Athens
Three MAT riot police officers and their squad leader were placed on suspension at noon Thursday by Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lefteris Economou after video footage showed them using excessive force during clashes with protestors in downtown Athens during a labor strike, in which a 31-year-old protestor was critically injured.
A police headquarters announcement said that the three officers appearing in video footage uploaded on the internet using excessive force, and in particular mercilessly beating a fallen protestor in the street, have been identified and were placed on suspension.
The investigation into the incident was continuing, following orders from Citizens' Protection minister Christos Papoutsis, from Brussels, for immediate attribution of blame on all parties involved in the violence in Wednesday's incidents and to clarify the circumstances of the serious injury of 31-year-old protestor Yannis Kafkas, who was in critical condition at the Nikaia state hospital.