World, Europe

Greek marchers use May 1 to protest austerity measures

Protests in Athens focus on salaries, working conditions as government negotiates with international creditors

01.05.2017
Greek marchers use May 1 to protest austerity measures People march to Sintagma Square to mark May Day, International Workers' Day, in Athens, Greece on May 1, 2017. ( Ayhan Mehmet - Anadolu Agency )

By Idyli Tsakiri

ATHENS 

Thousands hit the streets of Athens on Monday, using traditional May 1 demonstrations to protest austerity measures and Greek government policies which have increased working hours and cut salaries.

While the center of the Greek capital was completely blocked by demonstrators, government officials were meeting the country's lenders to discuss bailout conditions and additional austerity measures.

May 1 demonstrations remained important since their origin in workers’ protests in Chicago in 1886, Christos Zarkinos, one of the marchers, told Anadolu Agency.

"We are still fighting for eight-hour shifts, we are still fighting for permanent positions," he added.

Further austerity measures will increase unemployment and create more poor people in Greece, rally organizers claimed.

Protests started in various Athenian neighborhoods before splitting in different directions.

Some groups marched to the city's Hilton Hotel, where the country's lenders were meeting the government.

Others walked to the American embassy, while other protested outside parliament.

Less than a month ago thousands of pensioners marched in Athens, protesting against further cuts in their benefits.

Greece’s elderly have repeatedly witnessed declines in their income since the country’s prolonged economic crisis began.

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