A group of 500 pensioners demanding EU-level pensions marched through central Athens yesterday to protest against the government’s ‘measly’ 3.5-percent pension rise for 2002. They caused large traffic jams. Pensioners’ representatives will meet National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on March 8 to discuss their demands, which include increasing the minimum monthly pension payment to 250,000 drachmas (734 euros) and only taxing income above 3.5 million drachmas. Pensioners held similar marches in the northern cities of Thessaloniki and Kavala. The service’s head, Vassilis Siatouras, told the committee that the 180 charges – a quarter of them criminal in nature – have been made against 48 senior officers, 52 junior officers and 49 from the lower ranks. The number of charges is expected to rise to 200 as more cases are processed.