Greek workers defied a government ban on movement as part of coronavirus restrictions and commemorated May Day, a public holiday in Greece which honours the workers movement.
The protesters, who attended the rally organised by the Communist-affiliated group PAME, wore masks and gloves and used colourful plastic markers placed on the ground outside Greek Parliament to ensure that social distancing was observed. The waved flags and chanted ‘No sacrifice for the bosses’.
May Day in Greece is typically observed with workers rallies, wreath-making and picnics to mark the start of spring.
Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias banned trips to the countryside and had appealed to trade unions to abstain from marches.
Main opposition leftist SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras addressed the mayor of Perama and workers that met with him. “So, today Labour Day we must give the message for struggle for decent working conditions, for the support of the people on the frontline, the invisible ones that we discovered them now as the cleaning staff for the inclusion in the heavy and hazardous professions,” he said. “My visit here today is symbolic, I want to thank all the cleaning staff throughout the country because in the period we all stayed at home they were on the frontline of the battle keeping the public areas clean and mostly protecting the public health”.
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas issued a statement. “We are celebrating the Labour Day of 2020 in the special conditions formed by the pandemic but with our eyes fixed on the future during which we will face a dilemma. The main question which needs to be addressed is Socialism or barbarism? We answer Socialism.”
Earlier on the day, Mr Koutsoumbas laid a wreath at the firing range of Kaisariani honouring the 200 Greek communists that were executed by the Nazi occupation authorities as reprisal for the killing of a German general by Greek Resistance forces.
“Today we are paying tribute to the 200 communists that were executed by the fascists here in Kaisariani on May 1, 1944.”
Leader for the Movement for Change (KINAL) party Fofi Gennimata said that the new social contract needs to be dealt with. “The crisis provoked by the pandemic threatens the labour rights. The new forms of labour mean for many people half job and half income” she said.
MeRA25 leader Yanis Varoufakis, present at the symbolic rallies for Labour Day outside Parliament House, said “the 5th memorandum is coming and will be extremely harsh for the people of labour. The Labour Day is the ideal day to start the unity and the struggle against the new impoverishment of the Greek workers.”