Communists Protest Pension Cuts

ATHENS – Greek Riot Police were called in to stop a protest by Communists against pension cuts and had to fire tear gas outside the Parliament building on Jan. 8.

Members of the Communist Union PAME broke through a police cordon before the tear gas was fired to break up the attempted assault.

Protesters from among the roughly 2,000-strong demonstration scuffled with police as they tried to reach the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The social security reform has been highly contentious. Greece’s social security and pension fund system has been ailing for decades, but overhauling the system has been fraught with problems.

The current government says it is aiming to increase workers’ contributions rather than cutting pensions, but the changes could lead to significant cuts in pay for workers in many sectors.

Earlier in the day, PAME staged a small rally outside the Labor Ministry before proceeding to the Maximos Mansion, the official residence of the Prime Minister. The civil servants’ union, ADEDY, also staged a protest outside the Labor Ministry which dispersed peacefully.

After the upheaval outside Parliament in the early afternoon, a small group of protesters headed back toward the Maximos Mansion to continue their protest there.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)