Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Juncker greeted by anti-austerity protest at the House

Photo: Christos Theodorides

By Evie Andreou

Around 200 members from 19 organisations gathered on Friday outside the parliament in an anti-austerity protest while European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was delivering his speech before MPs, ministers and ambassadors.

The protest was organised by the ‘Society Reacts’ platform, including left-wing union  PEO and socialist DEOK, student organisations, pensioners and workers.

Protesters marched from European Union house to parliament holding banners saying ‘no to austerity, yes to solution’ and ‘we are people not numbers’ and handed a letter addressed to Juncker in which they condemned the “unacceptable attitude, blackmail and ultimatums imposed by European institutions in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund”.

“Cyprus’ economy and society are also victims of imposed austerity policies and as a result of these policies our country’s economy is trapped in a vicious cycle of depression and unemployment,” the letter said.

It has been proven that neo-liberal policies do not lead to overcoming the economic crisis, it said.

“Cypriot society cannot tolerate this situation any more. We demand growth and new job posts, and an end to funding cuts on programmes that deal with poverty and social exclusion effectively,” the letter said.

PEO’s general secretary Pambis Kyritsis said that in Cyprus there were not only those who praise the Troika and pat themselves on the back for their excellent performance, but there were also 75,000 unemployed people, and youths with €500 a month salaries, plus pensioners, the disabled, and the lower middle class that were being destroyed.

“We address Juncker on behalf of the other Cyprus, of the simple people who pay the price of the economic crisis for which they are not to blame but they have been  burdened with,” Kyritsis said.

DEOK’s general secretary Diomedis Diomedous, said that the European leadership had long taken the road of contempt with regard to workers, pensioners, the unemployed and vulnerable groups and that it imposes “harsh and inhumane austerity without feeling the need to take into consideration the opinion of societies”.

“We fight against austerity measures, for growth, to end the depression and unemployment, especially for the youth,” protester Stelios Andreou said.

“We ask that this austerity course changes toward a road to growth and prosperity”, said Christos Makris a member of the federation of student unions POFEN.

The pensioners’ association, (EKYSY) also joined the protest. Its members held banners saying “respect for old age” and demanded “respectable lives and not plain survival”.

“We are here to show our support to everyone, and despite the health problems we face, we would stay here until tomorrow if necessary to fight for the future of our children and everyone’s future,” said pensioner Christina Christou.

Another pensioner George Moularis said the crisis affected many pensioners who saw their benefits being slashed “without any reason”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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