Last weekend protests about corporate greed were held in around 951 cities across the globe. The Occupy Wall Street
protest movement had inspired others to take part and in London, Occupy London got underway.Saturday October 15, 2011 was the day of action and inevitably trouble occurred in some cities and countries. In London protesters were denied access to banking areas, where they had hoped to demonstrate. Instead they were pushed back to the front of London's landmark St Paul's Cathedral.
A heavy police presence looked set to inflame the situation. The police officers were trying to prevent damage to St Paul's historic architecture. In the end a philanthropic St Paul's clergyman asked the police to desist.
Ha said that he hoped for a peaceful protest, commenting that in the UK people have a right to air their opinions and demonstrate peacefully. As he said, he would rather a little damage than a running battle between protesters and police.
Now it seems his kindness may have backfired on him.
Throughout the week the sea of tents outised St Paul's has grown. The maekeshift camp will no doubt swell at the weekend when people are not at work. This will add to the problems. The Dean of St Paul's, Reverend Graeme Knowles, has said it is with a "heavy heart" that a decision to close has been made.
Famously little has forced St Paul's to close its doors to visitors but Occupy London has.
It all boils down to Health and Safety rules. The Dean has asked that protesters move away from the entrance to the cathedral. He said, "We have a legal obligation to keep visitors safe and healthy." This afternoon, October 21, 2011, a service will be held before St Pauls's basically shuts up shop, at least for the forseeable future. That is a shame as the Cathedral relies on donations from visitors to keep its finacial head above water.
2009 Greek Strike
The Greek economy has been in free-fall for some time. Much as the government of the country plans austerity measures and cuts the people will not play ball. Watching an interview with a Greek person it was easy to see what part of the problem is. As the man told the media “Greek people live for today and care not for the future“. He seemed pretty sure that sooner or later the Greeks will default on paying back EU loans.
If he can see all of this why can’t EU leaders such as Angela Merkel and others?
Well in truth they will be able to see reality but for various reasons choose to ignore it. Such is the EU that each country has become intertwined. So much so that such a thing as a bad economy in one country could cause many countries to fall. The dreaded Domino effect.
Yet it must be close to the time when EU countries decide enough is enough. If countries such as the UK are enforcing stringent measures on their people why should it be possible for the Greeks to ignore such measures themselves?. If they were not reliant on EU countries for a bail-out fair enough but fancy expecting people who have had their salaries and future prospects cut to bail-out those who will not accept such changes.When you visit Greece the people are warm and friendly but like it or not they will have to experience changes.
Today, October 18, 2011 the head of the huge Public Sector Union in Greece has aired his views. Costas Tsikrikas, head of the 500,000-strong ADEDY union
said that Greece is set to fall into a "death spiral" if more cuts and restrictions are put in place. He accused George Papandreou's Socialist government of blindly falling destructive plans. Coasts said that such strict measures would ultimately plunge Greece into a deeper recession and set them on a downward spiral to more debt and despair.
Urging those who have the power to vote against these measures Mr Tsikrikas said, “This will exacerbate recession, unemployment and state revenues will continue to fall, creating a death spiral. It must not continue. The government has to call on the rich to contribute. Workers look more like squeezed lemons now, they can't take it anymore. The state must take the money from those who have the income to pay the taxes. The rich, the big companies that use the workforce of this country. Don't they owe the country and its people something? People are right to want justice, the burden equally shared, a just tax system and a crackdown on tax evasion."
As some of the poorer paid public sector workers face what in effect is a 40% pay cut it seems obvious that such cuts must include everyone and be fair to all Greeks.
Greece faces a 48 hour strike which has been scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, October 19 and 20, 2011. The timing is to coincide with the Greek government’s vote on the latest austerity measures. Already today, Tuesday October 18 railway workers and journalists, joined ferry crews, garbage collectors, tax officials and lawyers in the planned action.
For many the big question is can the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, cling to power let alone ensure the package of austerity measures are passed?