Greek workers defy ban to mark Labour Day

Members of the PAME movement and the KKE are holding flags, wear gloves and masks to protect themselves, and keep their distance from the rally for Labor Day on the Syntagma square in Athens, Greece, 1 May 2020. [Alexandros Beltes/EPA/EFE]

Greek workers and students wearing masks and gloves lined up outside parliament to commemorate May Day, defying a government ban on movement imposed to fight the coronavirus.

Using colourful plastic markers placed on the ground to help them observe distance rules, hundreds of protesters joined a rally organised by the Communist-affiliated group PAME.

The protesters waved flags, chanted slogans and held banners reading “No sacrifice for the bosses”.

Movement restrictions, imposed in March as part of a nationwide lockdown, will be gradually eased in the coming months, starting on Monday. Some retail businesses, including hair salons and bookshops, will also open on Monday.

Most businesses have been hurt by the lockdown. The conservative government has promised to protect jobs in a country that has only just emerged from a decade-long debt crisis that wiped out a quarter of its economic output.

Greece hopes a step-by-step revival of economic activity won’t trigger a new wave of infections. The country has so far registered 2,591 cases and 140 deaths.

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