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Mitsotakis Marks Int'l Day for Persons with Disabilities; Disabled Greeks Seek Austerity Relief

Αssociated press

People protest for disabled rights in central Athens on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Rallies were held in several Greek cities to mark the U.N. International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Protest organizers say disabled Greeks have been hard hit by years of austerity measures and are seeking an expansion of exemptions from bailout-era taxes. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS (AP) — Members of disabled groups from around Greece — some wearing white gloves to protest in sign language — have staged rallies in Athens and other cities to call for expanded exemptions from bailout-era taxes.

Chanting "the disabled won't bow their heads," the protesters marched through central Athens Monday and delivered a petition to the prime minister's office, marking the United Nations' Day for Persons with Disabilities .

Greece's third successive international bailout ended in August but austerity measures are set to continue for several more years.

Disabled groups say their members have been disproportionately hurt by state spending cuts, creating higher poverty rates than the national average and an unemployment rate roughly double the general level of 18.9 percent in August.

Mitsotakis: Real integration and access to social and

working life for persons with disabilities

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday marked International Day for Persons with Disabilities with a visit to the "Alma" association and the municipal playground for persons with disabilties at Aghia Skepi, Neo Faliro.

"Today come together to send a message in support of equal access for persons with disabilities to all aspects of everyday life. To education, health and labour. We want to move away from a benefits policy for supporting those with disability and to pass to a real equal opportunities' policy. To give people with disabilities an opportunity for real integration in social and working life," stated Mitsotakis, who also sent a message of support to the families of persons with disabilities.

"The least we can do is to be by their side with real and effective solutions and, of course, to struggle against any discrimination, any stereotype that may still exist against people with disabilities. In addition to equal opportunities, those with disabilities also deserve something that costs nothing, which is their dignity," he said.

(Material from Ap and ANA was used in this report)

Αssociated press

File- People protest for disabled rights in central Athens on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Αssociated press

Protesters wear white gloves to display messages in sign language during a protest for disabled rights in central Athens on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Rallies were held in several Greek cities to mark the U.N. International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Protest organizers say disabled Greeks have been hard hit by years of austerity measures and are seeking an expansion of exemptions from bailout-era taxes. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Αssociated press

Protesters wear white gloves to display messages in sign language during a protest for disabled rights in central Athens on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Rallies were held in several Greek cities to mark the U.N. International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Protest organizers say disabled Greeks have been hard hit by years of austerity measures and are seeking an expansion of exemptions from bailout-era taxes. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Αssociated press

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Αssociated press

Protesters wear white gloves to display messages in sign language during a protest for disabled rights in central Athens on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Rallies were held in several Greek cities to mark the U.N. International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Protest organizers say disabled Greeks have been hard hit by years of austerity measures and are seeking an expansion of exemptions from bailout-era taxes. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Αssociated press

People protest for disabled rights in central Athens on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Rallies were held in several Greek cities to mark the U.N. International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Protest organizers say disabled Greeks have been hard hit by years of austerity measures and are seeking an expansion of exemptions from bailout-era taxes. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)