Government, Communist party clash over labor ministry incident

Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Thursday attacked the Greek Communist Party (KKE) after its officials denied allegations that its unionists had caused damage to his office a day earlier.

“KKE representatives… have abused the truth in a bid to distort reality,” Vroutsis said in Parliament.

“Too bad facts speak for themselves,” he said accusing the protesters of engaging in violent acts and verbal abuse.

Thirty-five members of the KKE-affiliated union PAME were detained by police on Wednesday after they stormed the Labor Ministry to protest comments made recently by Vroutsis. Images emerged later in the day that were said to depict the damage caused during the protest.

PAME has denied the government’s claims that the offices were damaged during the protest. It has said the damage in the ministry was done by police as a “provocation” against unionists.

Vroutsis’s attack on KKE Thursday prompted the reaction of communist party spokesman Thanassis Pafilis who accused the minister of “resorting to crude lies and to badly-staged acts of provocation.”

Speaking to Skai earlier in the day, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou also rejected KKE’s take on events, suggesting that left-wing parties were trying to create political tension.

The trial of the 35 unionists was postponed until February 25 after the suspects faced a prosecutor in Athens Thursday.

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