A demonstration on Friday morning outside the Administrative Reform Ministry by teachers, school guards and cleaners turned tense after a group of protesters tried to storm the premises, leading police to detain 17 people temporarily.
The employees, who are protesting the induction of hundreds of civil servants into a so-called mobility scheme of forced transfers and layoffs, had been demanding a meeting with the minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakos, to discuss their grievances.
One of the 17 people detained was the head of the union of secondary school teachers, known as OLME, Themis Kotsyfakis. He claimed that the rally had been peaceful and that demonstrators had not blocked the road. Protesters said that police used tear gas to disperse them and that officers used violence to detain them.
The incident outside the ministry occurred at around 6.30 a.m., ahead of a scheduled meeting between Mitsotakis and troika mission chiefs who are in Athens to continue their economic review.
Police also fired tear gas to disperse a crowd outside the Finance Ministry. One woman was reported to have fainted during the skirmishes while Themis Balasopoulos, the head of the local authority workers’ union, POE-OTA, was said to have suffered light injuries.