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Greek police, firefighters, coast guards protest

September 5, 2014

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — About 2,000 police, firefighters and coast guards have held a peaceful anti-austerity protest in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Unions that organized Friday’s protest are angry at pay cuts and government plans to merge their pension funds under a major pension reform.

They have held similar protests every year on the eve of the Thessaloniki Trade Fair opening, where Greece’s prime minister traditionally delivers a keynote speech on the economy.

Debt-heavy Greece, which hopes to exit a six-year recession this year, nearly went bankrupt in 2010. It has survived on international bailouts, issued on condition of tough austerity measures and economic reforms.

Other labor and political groups are planning protests in Thessaloniki Saturday, amid tight police security.

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