Greek Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis engaged in “damage control” on Thursday after his incendiary remark about Greece’s protesting lawyers, the so-called “necktie movement”, for whom he was quoted as saying that “it’s good that they’re taking to the streets. It will do them good because they’ll lose a few kilos”.
Kouroumblis, a lawyer by training who served as a long-time PASOK party cadre and MP before being elected on leftist SYRIZA’s ticket, was quoted in article published by the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung and bylined by reporter Mike Szymanski.
Speaking to an Athens radio station on Thursday, Kouroumblis – who is blind after being injured in a hand grenade accident as a youth — at first tried to pass off the quip as humor, reminding that the German reporter was by his side for a whole day.
“… and now my stance is very clear as far as working attorneys (are concerned); and it is very clear in terms of well-established lawyers, who pay the same social security contribution as an unemployed attorney. Well, this cannot continue. And the people bothered by this are the same ones (who take umbrage with his “kilos” comment)”.
Lawyers have taken to the streets in protest against tax and social security hikes envisioned for self-employed professionals, such as attorneys and engineers.