Over to Greece, where the countdown to European and local elections (the first round of the latter taking place this weekend) has sent passions skyrocketing.
Protestors, including fired school guards who have been demonstrating outside the country’s administrative reform ministry since early this morning, see the double poll as the ideal chance to vent their spleen.
The mood outside the administrative reform ministry is as explosive as each of the protestors now gathered outside it. With dismissed school guards vowing to remain on the streets “for as long as it takes” authorities have dispatched vanloads of riot police to the area.
Scuffles have intermittently broken out as the guards, who were laid off as part of plans to streamline Greece’s bloated public sector, have tried to enter the building.
Harris Bastas who heads the group now representing the 2,000 offloaded school guards told me: “right now we want to meet the minister [Kyriakos Mitsotakis] and if it takes one, two, three days we will stay here. In fact as long as it takes. Our basic demand is to be reinstated. We want the jobs that we lost in one night,” he yelled, screaming himself hoarse. “We want what every state should guarantee its citizens: the right to live with dignity.”
Mitsotakis, who is under immense pressure to trim the civil service from Greece’s “troika” of creditors at the EU, ECB and IMF, has shown no inclination to meet the guards. Down the road irate finance ministry cleaners, who also lost their jobs at the end of March after being put into a special labour reserve, are similarly demonstrating. Now the emblem of austerity’s corrosive effects, the women have become increasingly organised, establishing a stall outside the national economy ministry from where they distribute leaflets describing their plight.