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Gaza war, inflation and unemployment dominate Athens May Day protests

Evangelo Sipsas in Athens


From London to Paris and Berlin to Istanbul, thousands took to the streets across Europe to commemorate the May Day celebration. All across the continent, high inflation and energy bills were at the center of the demonstrations, as was the conflict in Gaza.

In Greece thousands of workers, students, and labor union members marched to commemorate May Day outside the Greek Parliament in central Athens. Ships remained docked at Greek ports and buses and metro services in the capital were disrupted as transport workers joined a 24-hour strike.

Gaza war, inflation and unemployment dominate Athens May Day protests

Although this year May Day fell during the Easter holidays in the country, demonstrators still came out in numbers. While many came to protest against the conflict in Gaza - other issues like inflation, energy prices and unemployment also took center stage.  

Wages for state workers increased this year for the first time after 14 years and the government led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis this week announced a plan for a performance-based bonus of up to 15 percent of annual salary from 2025.

"The last few years, inflation has been eating away at my salary," a demonstrator told CGTN. "The price increase in energy and food is insane as a result of the struggle to make it through the month. And when we confront the government about it, they say the increases are because we avoid paying taxes. That is just a lie," he added.

The protesters gathered at Panepistimiou Avenue and marched through the streets of the Greek capital, heading to the Parliament, where they were met by thousands of riot police.

Demonstrators called for a ceasefire in Gaza, while others held signs in solidarity with student protesters at Columbia University in New York. 


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The May Day demonstration marks one of the most important days in the Greek trade unions' calendar, especially this year, with working hours and conditions becoming a key issue. Protesters want pay rises that would bring their salaries close to the European average. 

May Day sees workers commemorate their historic struggles and is observed in many countries on May 1. In the U.S. and Canada the corresponding Labor Day occurs on the first Monday of September.

Gaza war, inflation and unemployment dominate Athens May Day protests

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