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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-20

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Debate on 2009 budget ends Sunday with vote
  • [02] Anti-racism rally in Athens
  • [03] SYN Central Political Committee

  • [01] Debate on 2009 budget ends Sunday with vote

    Debate on the draft 2009 State Budget continued in parliament on Saturday.

    The five-day debate will be completed at midnight on Sunday, and will be followed by a roll-call vote in the 300-member unicameral parliament.

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis and the opposition party leaders will be the final speakers at Sunday's session before the vote.

    [02] Anti-racism rally in Athens

    An anti-racism rally was held on Sunday in downtown Athens, organized by the Committee Against the European Union's Immigration and Asylum Pact.

    Immigrants, students and other organizations gathered in the early afternoon at the Propylae to demonstrate for abolition of the Pact, and to demand asylum for refugees and their legalization, while also calling for an end to "racist murderous attacks".

    The demonstrators marched to parliament and back to the Propylae, after which they dispersed peacefully.

    Earlier, a separate group of demonstrators blocked off the street in front of the parliament building, where they staged a silent protest, remaining immobile for five minutes.

    Tension ensued, however, when a small group of the demonstrators went to the Christmas tree set up by the City of Athens in Syntagma Square and attempted to leave garbage bags beneath it. MAT riot police teams immediately surrounded the tree and used tear gas to disperse them.

    The MAT teams remained at the scene to safeguard the tree -- the original Christmas tree had been burned during rioting in Athens last week that erupted after the shooting death of a 15-year-old teen by police in the Exarhia district - while a strong police contingent remained around the parliament building.

    [03] SYN Central Political Committee

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras on Saturday spoke of an "immense social explosion" with the youth and pupils as the spearhead that rocked the nation and will go down in history, in an address to his party's Central Political Committee.

    He also criticized the government for accusing the neo-popular movement and using the "mechanisms of police arbitrariness" against them, the main opposition PASOK party of holing up, and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) of adopting the tried and true rationale of "provacateurs and enemies of the people".

    Tsipras also spoke of scenarios for "salvation of the system" through recipes such as either co-governance by the ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK parties, or an "ecumenical" economy minister, "with the Left in its own world and the youth on the couches".

    "The co-governance planswill not be able to proceed, we can cancel out those plans," the Synaspismos leader said, adding that "perhaps they can find a Left that does not bother them and will be in its own world in Perissos (the KKE headquarters), but not in our Left of the movements and struggles," Tsipras stressed.

    "We are on the opposite side of the hooded individuals and violence," Tsipras said, adding that "what they wanted was for us to stop speaking to the young people and to allow the pupils' movement to degenerate and be lost, to condemn the struggles of the young generation to disrepute, but we will not do them the favor, and we are proud of that, now and in the future".

    Addressing himself to interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Tsipras said that there were many isolated incidents in a short period of time, such as the problem with the "rambo police officers, the penetration of ultra-right elements and the praetor perception in the police".

    SYN was not in opposition to the ordinary policemen, but to their leadership and to the perceptions that want to turn the ordinary policeman into a rambo and praetor, with the aim of overturning democratic legality, Tsipras said, and posed the question of "which police task force wears hoods and wields crowbars".

    Analyzing the recent developments, Tsipras spoke of a "spontaneous social outburst, to which many political forces attempted to stand on the other side".

    SYN, however, chose to go into the mobilizations and try to give a positive outlet from the crisis, so that the "days of rage" would not have been in vain.

    Tsipras stipulated three specific issues that SYN and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left, the SYN-led parliamentary alliance) placed at the center of the demands: an end to suppression, authoritarianism and unconctrolled police arbitrariness, a deep-rooted change in the education system with free access to Universities as the prominent theme, and substantial support measures for the young generation against unemployment and the spectre of uninsured and uncertain employment.

    He anticipated that SYN and SYRIZA would continue to be the target of the "forces of the political establishment" because they defend the social interpretation of the events and not the "terror-hysteria", and because they defend the social rights, adding that SYN and SYRIZA have "crystal clear views on violence and the hooded inviduals and do not ask for certification of social law abidance".

    Tsipras predicted an aggravation of the social problems in the immediate future due to the financial crisis and the formulation of a "climate of clashes" by the "sovereign forces".

    On the 2009 State Budget currently being debated in parliament, he charged that it "transfers the social burdens on the financially weaker strata".

    Tsipras said that the government was at the end of its tether and would not be able to withstand any more social tension, adding that the alternative solution was not the alternation of the two mainstream parties (ND and PASOK) in government, but an upset of the political correlations, and SYRIZA "has the responsibility of fight for that with all its power, together with the social and youth movements".

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