Familiar scenes returned to Athens today, when Greek police fired teargas at a demonstration of pensioners protesting over cutbacks to their benefits, part of an austerity drive dictated by the Troika (or was it Quadriga). Between 1,500 and 2,0000 pensioners attempted to march to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's office, however they were blocked when riot police blocked their path, intercepting them with pepper spray and tear gas.
Greek pensioners called on the nation to rise against the government’s harsh austerity policy as they attempted to break through a cordon of police buses and special operations troops barring their way to the prime minister’s residence.
As Reuters adds, tensions flared when dozens of pensioners attempted to push over a police bus blocking their way a few hundred meters (yards) from Tsipras' office.
The government has approved several reforms since August 2015, including benefits cuts and tax hikes as part of its July 2015 deal with the International Monetary Fund and EU financial institutions that unlocked a third bailout package worth 86 billion euros ($96 billion).
The left-led government is expected to submit its budget for 2017 in parliament on Monday evening.
Greece has been reeling from the impact of incessant rounds of austerity for the past seven years, dictated by creditors as a remedy for years of financial mismanagement which culminated in three international bailouts.
Pensioners have been particularly hit, with many benefits pared as taxes have spiked.
"Is it possible that I should pay the same real estate tax as a rich businessman?" asked Nikos Saslov, a civil servant due for retirement next year.
One local and "graying bespectacled man" in sandals said, summarized his anger best when he siad that "If they (the government) are leftists, then I'm Sophia Loren," referring to the Italian actress.