Hundreds of people have held a peaceful demonstration in northern Greece to denounce austerity measures that the government has imposed to appease foreign creditors to help cap the country’s deepening debt crisis.
On Friday, about 2,000 police officers, firefighters and coast guards took to streets in the city of Thessaloniki to voice their anger at pay cuts and government plans to merge their pension funds under a major pension reform.
The protest came on the eve of Thessaloniki Trade Fair opening.
Other labor and political groups are planning to hold demonstrations in the city on Saturday.
Debt-laden Greece hopes to exit a six-year recession this year. The country nearly went bankrupt in 2010, only to survive on international rescue packages.
However, the bailouts forced Greece to accept tough austerity measures and economic reforms.
Greeks have lost about a third of their disposable income since the debt crisis erupted in 2009 and unemployment has soared, leaving more than one in four without a job.
According to the European Union’s official job data service, Eurostat, 56.3% of young people in Greece were without a job in June 2014, while Spain followed in close second for having the largest percentage of its youngsters being unemployed (56.3%), while Italy came in third with 43.7%.
Long-term unemployment in Greece will reach almost 27 percent in 2015, according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report published on September 3.
Greece has also seen one of the biggest drops in real wages since the beginning of the crisis, the OECD data shows.