Unrest spreads to military as retired Greek officers storm defence ministry

Thursday, October 6, 2011
By Paul Martin

BY LEIGH PHILLIPS
EUObserver.com

The Greek armed forces now appear to be entering the political and street-level debate in the country over EU- and IMF-imposed austerity, with a group of retired Greek officers storming the defence ministry and the armed forces’ professional organisation issuing a stern warning to the government that the military’s confidence in the “intentions of the state” regarding their pensions has been “shaken”.
Hundreds of retired Greek officers furious at EU-IMF-imposed cuts to their pensions invaded the Ministry of Defence on Friday (30 September), breaking doors and dismantling machinery.

Amid a wider protest of some 2000 officers, around 300 stormed the building as the crowd shouted “down with the Pasok junta” – referring to the governing social democratic party.

Defence minister Panos Beglitis denounced the officers’ actions as “anti-democratic bullying” by “the state within the state” and instructed the prosecutor of the Athens Military Court to conduct a preliminary investigation over whether the group had perpetrated any criminal offences against military institutions.

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