Protest to fight austerity from Detroit to Greece

Activists here with the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs have announced a demonstration for Feb. 27 in solidarity with the people of Greece, who are resisting austerity and economic strangulation at the behest of the banks and financial institutions.

The protest — called “Detroit Stands with Greece” — is timed to coincide with the start of severe cuts to the pensions of retirees who worked for the City of Detroit. The demonstration will demand: “From Detroit to Greece, stop attacks on the working class; cancel the debt; stop pension cuts, foreclosures and water shutoffs.”

The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history concluded here last year, all for the benefit of the banks and to the detriment of Detroit workers, residents and social services. The city was devastated by the actions of banks and financial institutions, some of whom are also strangling Greece. Their usurious swindles caused mass home foreclosures and evictions, the exodus of almost one-quarter million residents in only a decade, the robbery of municipal retirees’ pensions and health care benefits, and the shutting off of water to more than 30,000 people last year. Now some 62,000 homes are facing tax foreclosures.

A Moratorium NOW! statement noted:

“Austerity in Greece has meant conditions much like those faced by Detroiters: A poverty rate of 44 percent, up from just 3 percent in 2009; a 27.7 percent unemployment rate; and 240,000 people with their utilities shut off.

“In response to these conditions, Syriza was elected to office in Greece on a promise to end the austerity imposed on the working class by the banks and the Troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund). U.S. financial institutions have swindled huge profits off the backs of the people of Greece, Detroit and around the world.

“In its first day in office, Syriza announced the following measures to ease the suffering of the masses: Halting of privatization schemes; reinstating pensions; reintroducing of the monthly minimum wage; scrapping of fees for prescriptions and hospital visits; restoring collective work agreements; rehiring workers laid off in the public sector; giving free access to food and electricity to the victims of the bailout; and granting citizenship to migrant children born and raised in Greece. Aren’t these the kinds of things we need in Detroit?!

“The banks and their capitalist allies are now trying to economically strangle Greece, refusing to renegotiate the loans and threatening to cut off Greece from the international market. All over the world workers are demonstrating their solidarity with the people of Greece. It’s time to draw the line against the criminal banksters and to say PEOPLE come before profits. We’ll beat them back in Greece and across the world, and reverse the attacks on Detroiters imposed by emergency management and the state in service to the banks.”

The demonstration against austerity and in solidarity with the people of Greece will take place in downtown Detroit on Friday, Feb. 27, starting at 4 p.m. Protesters will gather outside Chase Bank at Woodward Avenue and Fort Street, and march to the Greektown district.

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