The national union of public hospital workers (POEDIN) has blamed Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos for what they described as a vicious attack by riot police units against union members during a protest outside the Finance Ministry over ongoing austerity.
"They took the law in their own hands. They attacked us with kicks and their shields just like in a totalitarian regime,” the union said, adding that they fired teargas at them “at point blank” creating respiratory and eye problems to protesters and an ambulance was called in to offer treatment.
The scuffles reportedly began after protesters, who were refused a meeting with Tsakalotos, tried to force their way into the building but were pushed back by police who fired tear gas.
The minister did finally meet a union delegation and “behaved as if nothing happened.”
Apart from staff cutbacks, the protesters are opposing reductions to the benefit for hazardous work usually paid out to hospital staff. The POEDIN workers were joined by members of the civil servants' union ADEDY who raised banners outside the offices reading "Ministry of Poverty."