Thousands rally in Athens on day of world protests

Filed on October 16, 2011

ATHENS - Several thousand people rallied outside the Greek parliament Saturday to condemn government cutbacks in the debt-wracked nation on a day of worldwide demonstrations.

“Down with the government-EU-IMF,” shouted protesters in the central Syntagama Square, a reference to budget cuts imposed on Greece by the European Union and International Monetary Fund in exchange for desperately needed loans.

Some gathered at outside parliament sang the Greek national anthem, with a large banner urging “People of the world, Rise up” on display nearby.

Tension in Greece is high as the country prepares for a general strike called for Wednesday and Thursday against new government austerity measures.

But the numbers on the Saturday, roughly 5,000 according to local media, were minimal compared to the massive demonstrations the rocked the country in May.

The rally was at first overshadowed by dozens of Syrians who protested against the Damascus’ regime relentless crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

Demonstrators also turned out in the northern city of Thessaloniki and several other cities.

The protests were inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the United States and the “Indignants” in Spain, targeting 951 cities in 82 countries across the planet in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

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