Workers in Greece took part in a general strike today, Thursday, in protest at the Greek government’s plans to push through even harsher austerity measures on the country’s population.
It was the second general strike in Greece in the space of two weeks. Huge rallies took place across the country in support of the striking workers.
Panos Garganas, editor of Greek newspaper Workers’ Solidarity, told Socialist Worker, “In Athens, it was as though it was a Sunday—everything was closed. The demonstration here was massive, far bigger than the media’s figure of 50,000.”
Tragically, an unemployed 65 year old sailor who was on the march had a heart attack and died. He had been unemployed for more than six years without receiving his pension.
Panos paid tribute to him, saying, “He had a hard life at sea, and was still waiting for his pension at that age—and yet he was on the demonstration today. He was a courageous man fighting for his class.”
At one point police in Athens provoked the demonstrators by attempting to split the march. But these tactics did not succeed.
The strike comes as the crisis deepens for the Greek government. It still hasn't decided when to put its latest cuts package to a parliamentary vote.
The next day of action in Greece will take place on 28 October—a national celebration of the day in 1940 when Mussolini’s fascist troops were forced out of Greece. Workers have planned demonstrations during the national parade—protesting against fascism as well as against austerity.
Greek workers will also join a general strike of workers in Portugal and Spain set to take place on 14 November. But if the austerity package goes to parliament before then, there will be a Greek general strike on that day too.