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Protesting police block riot police

Friday, September 07, 2012    

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ATHENS, Greece — GREEK police protesting against planned pay cuts yesterday blocked riot police headquarters in Athens ahead of an evening demonstration by security forces summoned from around the country.

The mobilisation delayed the dispatch of riot police to the second city of Thessaloniki, where labour unionists are planning protests on Saturday during the inauguration of Greece's premier trade fair, state television NET said.

The salary cuts are part of a new austerity package of around (euro) 1.6 billion that the government must adopt to secure the latest slice of bailout loans from the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank.

Among other state-paid staff struck by two years of prior cuts, police officers, members of the coast guard and firemen say they already have trouble making ends meet.

"We have reached our limits," George Drivakis, a senior coastguard union member, told NET.

"We cannot meet our family and professional obligations with a salary of 680 euros. We are already paying for equipment out of our own pocket," he said.

State security staff are organising a protest later on Thursday at the Kallimarmaron stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Olympics.

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