The rallies to honor Labor Day and bring attention to labor rights called by federations, unions, and workers concluded on Monday at Syntagma Square, with the singing of the Greek Internationale.
Communist Party-affiliated PAME protesters met at Kanigos Square, Omonia Square, the Propylea on Panepistimiou Street, the Temple of Zeus and Alexandras Avenue, converging towards the central Syntagma Square. There they shouted slogans in support of labor struggles and rights, while actor Vassilis Kolovos had earlier recited a poem by Turkish poet and author Aziz Nesin, “Be silent”.
The major federations of the private and public sector, GSEE and ADEDY, were joined by the Labor Center of Athens in their rally, which was also attended by French union members.
France’s labor unions, which have been protesting against the government’s new insurance legislation, participated in the Athens rallies with bilingual banners in Greek and French reading “The peoples will win” (Les peoples gagneront). Earlier in the day, they paid a visit to Kessariani to lay flowers at the site where Nazis executed Greek resistance fighters during World War II.
Politicians Nikos Androulakis (leader, PASOK-KINAL), former prime minister George Papandreou, and former Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos were among those attending the rallies, while several others issued messages.
Communist Party of Greece Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoubas, also present, called for a stronger rallying of laborers and independent/freelance workers in cities and villages “to open the way for radical change in the economy and society, against all anti-popular policies of all governments of capital, the EU, NATO, and those taking advantage of the Greek people.”
Similar labor rallies were held in Thessaloniki, organized separately by the Labor and Employees Union of Thessaloniki (including representatives of main opposition SYRIZA and opposition PASOK), MeRA25 with other leftist groups, PAME, and antiestablishment groups.
A minute’s silence was observed and wreaths laid at the Monument of the Laborer, before the groups marched to the center of the city. The SYRIZA-related groups concluded their march before the ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, while labor unions from the private and public sectors, leftist groups, and antiestablishment groups marched to the Laborer’s Monument.
In addition, PAME held protests outside the consulates of the United States, France, and Germany in solidarity with workers of those countries.
Similar rallies were held in Chania on Crete and at Patras, as well as in other cities of Greece.