Police Crack Down on Riots as Greece's Unemployment Hits New Peak

World | October 14, 2010, Thursday // 17:41|  views

Riot policemen try to push away protesting Culture and Tourism Ministry contract employees who had locked off the entrance to the Acropolis since dawn Wednesday. EPA/BGNES

Greek riot police have taken by force the Acropolis as disgruntled civil servants had barricaded themselves inside preventing tourist access for the second consecutive day.

The police forces employed pepper spray and batons to chase away the protesters from the Culture Ministry who demonstrated against plans by the government to scrap some 800 short-term contracts by the end of the month, after their failure to obey prosecutor's orders to vacate the top historical attraction.

As the police cracked down on the protesters, the Acropolis was again opened for visitors.

Labor unrest around Greece reached new heights on Thursday as a railway strike unfolded parallel with the riot police crackdown at the Acropolis and the Parthenon against measures undertaken by the government in order to get the country out of its unprecedented debt crisis and recession.

In May, Greece avoided bankruptcy thanks to a bailout loan of EUR 110 B from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The police-protester clashes at the Acropolis occurred amidst news that Greece's unemployment rate rose back to 12%, its May level, in July, after it declined to 11.6% in June. It is almost 2 percentage points higher than the unemployment in the euro zone, which stood at 10.1% in July. The Greek government expects an unemployment rate of 14.5% in 2011 as the local economy will be in its third year of recession.

Greece's economy is expected to decline by 4% in 2010, and another 2.6% in 2011. At present, it is worth about EUR 240 B, making up 2.5% of the euro zone.

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Tags: police, riot police, greece, Greek, Acropolis Museum, Acropolis, protesters, Strike, civil servants, Athens


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