Greeks protest Sunday store openings
Workers in Greece’s private sector staged a strike in downtown Athens, protesting a measure that would keep stores open on Sundays.
The move – as stipulated by the country’s creditors in its third bailout package – is meant to kindle the economy.
Demonstrators gathered outside a downtown department store in the rain, bearing large banners that read "Never on Sunday"– a reference to an award-winning Greek film.
The private sector workers and business owners say they are worried the measure will only benefit large, multinationals, which can absorb the extra cost of paying people to work on Sunday --- forcing small businesses into bankruptcy.
In late November, Greece once again avoided bankruptcy after its international creditors finally agreed to give it the money it urgently needs.
After three weeks of negotiations, its euro partners and the International Monetary Fund agreed to release loan payments totalling $56.8 billion Cdn and introduce a series of measures designed to reduce the country's massive debts.
Ex-finance minister under investigation
Meanwhile, the Greek socialist party, Pasok, has expelled the former finance minister, George Papaconstantinou. He’s alleged to have struck off names of relatives on a list of Greeks who hold Swiss bank accounts.
Those on the list – taken from HSBC bank — are being investigated for tax evasion
Papaconstantinou introduced Greece's first austerity program as the country tried to take control of its escalating debt.
Public anger has been growing over government inaction and its prosecution of a journalist who published those named. Authorites have had to re-examine the details of about 2,000 Greek individuals and companies who had accounts in Switzerland.
"It is regrettable that according to the judicial investigation, there are clear indications that the list was tampered with, with respect to family members of the former finance minister George Papaconstantinou," Pasok said in a statement over the weekend.
Papaconstantinou denies any wrongdoing, saying he "made absolutely no intervention into the data."