Greece: Clashes near PM's office over bailout labor reforms - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Greece: Clashes near PM's office over bailout labor reforms

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(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). A police officer guarding the main entrance of Labor ministry is hit by protesters as Communist-backed unionists try to enter the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded ... (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). A police officer guarding the main entrance of Labor ministry is hit by protesters as Communist-backed unionists try to enter the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded ...
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). A police officer guarding the main entrance of the Labor ministry tries to protect himself as Communist-backed  unionists try to enter the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters... (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). A police officer guarding the main entrance of the Labor ministry tries to protect himself as Communist-backed unionists try to enter the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters...
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). Communist-backed unionists enter the Labor ministry after they broke into the main entrance of the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded the ministry as they were demon... (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). Communist-backed unionists enter the Labor ministry after they broke into the main entrance of the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded the ministry as they were demon...
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). Communist-backed unionists try to break the main entrance of the Labor ministry during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded the ministry as they were demonstrating against proposals t... (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). Communist-backed unionists try to break the main entrance of the Labor ministry during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded the ministry as they were demonstrating against proposals t...
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). Communist-backed unionists exit from a broken entrance of the Labor ministry after they entered the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded the ministry as they were demo... (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris). Communist-backed unionists exit from a broken entrance of the Labor ministry after they entered the building during a protest in central Athens, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017. The protesters invaded the ministry as they were demo...

By PETROS GIANNAKOURIS and DEREK GATOPOULOS
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Demonstrators broke their way into Greece's Labor Ministry and clashed with riot police outside the prime minister's office Tuesday, in protest against a new agreement between the country and bailout creditors that includes limiting the right to strike.

The labor unions also called a general strike for Dec. 14.

Police fired tear gas outside the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after protesters forced their way past a cordon and clashed with officers on duty.

Earlier, demonstrators forced open the shuttered entrance of the Labor Ministry on a busy commercial street in the center of the city.

The clashes occurred hours after finance ministers from the 19 eurozone countries backed a provisional agreement on the terms of a late-January bailout disbursement.

Under the provisional agreement, the government also commits to expand the privatization of a state power company and help speed up efforts to clear a huge backlog of banks' soured loans - measures that are both politically unpopular.

Labor reforms are highly controversial in Greece, where unemployment remains over 20 percent and poverty levels have surged over the past few years since the country first required an international financial rescue in 2010.

A legal amendment to toughen strike rules was proposed in parliament as part of unrelated draft legislation late Monday and withdrawn hours later for further consultation.

Tuesday's protest was organized by a union control by the Greek Communist Party, which has led multiple protests against Tsipras' left-led coalition government.

"This government of dirty tricks. It has surprised everyone with its willingness to take instructions from the (bailout creditors)," Communist Party deputy Christos Katsotis said.

Greece's largest labor unions have called a 24-hour strike against the proposed labor reforms on Dec. 14.

"The government has promised to restore labor rights ... but at the same time it is weakening the most fundamental tool of collective action, the right to strike," the General Confederation of Greek Labor, the country's largest union, said.

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Follow Giannakouris at http://www.twitter.com/PGiannakouris and Gatopoulos at http://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulos

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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