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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-01

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] May Day marked throughout Greece with separate rallies
  • [02] Greece at "Arabian Market 2007" fair in Dubai

  • [01] May Day marked throughout Greece with separate rallies

    May Day was marked throughout Greece on Tuesday with rallies and wreath-laying ceremonies.

    Two separate rallies were held in Athens, one organised jointly by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) at the Pedion tou Areos Park, followed by a march to Syntagma Square, which was addressed by Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alekos Alavanos, while a second was organised by the PAME trade union group at Syntagma Square, addressed by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, which was followed by a march to the US Embassy in Athens.

    In Thessaloniki, three separate rallies were held, one organised jointly by the Thessaloniki Labour Centre and the Union of Civil Servants' Organisations at downtown Aristotelous Square, a second organised by PAME, and a third organised by non-parliamentary Left groups.

    Addressing the GSEE-ADEDY rally, GSEE alternate president Alekos Kalyvis called for the return of the social insurance funds' monies invested in overpriced bonds, adding that the trade unions will demand a new institutional framework that will safeguard the management of the funds' reserves, seek self-management of the funds, and a reinforcement of pensions and the working people's social insurance rights.

    GSEE president Yannis Papadopoulos, speaking to reporters, said that the bonds affair was a huge scandal, and also demanded the return of the monies and the punishment of those responsible, while he called workers to take part en masse in the 24-hour general strike called by GSEE and ADEDY for March 15.

    Main opposition PASOK secretary Nikos Athanasakis, who also attended the rally, accused the government of implementing an i-popular and anti-labour policy, and called the bonds affair a "looting of the funds", while casting blame on the government's economic staff and prime minister Costas Karamanlis personally over the handling of the issue.

    SYN leader Alekos Alavanos criticised all the organisations that held separate rallies of "divisive" tactics, calling on workers to act in unity, solidarity and joint action, and reiterated his proposal that a fact-finding commission be set up in parliament to investigate the bonds affair.

    Absent from the Pedion tou Areos rally was the ruling New Democracy (ND) affiliated trade union group DAKE, which held a wreath-laying ceremony at the Kessariani Firing Range marking the spot where members of the Greek Resistance were executed by nazi forces during WWII. DAKE plans to hold its own event in the next few days in Lavrion to pay tribute to the pioneers of the labour movement, the trade Unions and May Day.

    DAKE abstained from all May Day rallies, following a rift with GSEE, splitting ranks with the majority within the country's largest umbrella trade union organisation, in the wake of a deeply divisive decision for a protest strike over the pension funds' issue on May 15, with DAKE 'freezing' its participation in GSEE's presidency until the DAKE conference at the end of May..

    Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga addressed the PAME rally in Syntagma Square, calling for a reversal of the government's policy, "and not just a change of the political scene".

    She said that if the working people wanted to strike a blow against unlawfullness and the illicit scandals, they needed to focus their attention on the licit scandals, "those taking place with the seal of the law, the scandals that have to do with the most callous exploitation of the working class".

    PAME central secretariat member George Peros, addressing the rally, severely criticised the Turkish government for "beating communists and working people" at the May Day rally in Istanbul, and also condemned the two-party system and the policies of both ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, as well as the "shameful salary increases" agreed by GSEE and the government and the "reactionary changes being planned in social insurance".

    [02] Greece at "Arabian Market 2007" fair in Dubai

    Tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia inaugurated the Greek pavilion on Tuesday at the "Arabian Travel Market 2007" exhibition in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the Middle East's and Pan-Arab Region's premier travel and tourism show, which got underway in the morning at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre featuring some 2,600 exhibitors from 64 countries.

    UAE vice-president and prime minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktum, Ruler of (the emirate) Dubai, visited the Greek pavilion, and was given a tour by Petralia.

    Petralia also met with minister of finance and industry Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, whom she informed that her ministry aimed at further strengthening the tourism and business ties between Greece and the UAE.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Petralia stressed Greece's very good and close relations with the Arab world.

    "We are laying very strong foundations in the tourism sector. We are inaugurating close cooperation here in Dubai. We are opening a Greek tourism office, and Greece's relations with the UAE will develop much more in the future. Greece is particularly popular with the UAE citizens, and so is Dubai for the Greeks, as it is a miracle of growth in recent years," she said.

    Sheikh Hamdan also referred to the very good relations between Greece and the UAE, and the bonds of friendship uniting the two peoples.

    He said that Greece was the UAE's gateway to Europe, and expressed the desire for exchanges of tourism products between the two countries.

    Petralia further met with the president of the multinational company ISTITHMAR, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayen, with whom she discussed tourism investment opportunities in Greece.


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