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Greece: Man Held As Coin Protest Targets IMF

(c) Sky News 2013
 

Greece's bailout inspectors have been jeered and heckled by protesters as they check the country's progress in implementing austerity-driven reforms.

A Greek man was held by police after allegedly throwing a fistful of coins at International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative Poul Thomsen outside the finance ministry, according to the state-run Athens News Agency.

The coins hit Thomsen's car as he arrived to evaluate the pace of Greek reforms.

The three-person team for the so-called troika of international lenders - made up of the European Commission, the IMF and European Central Bank - are due to produce a report which is crucial to determining whether the country qualifies for a vital £840m tranche of aid.

The EU and IMF foresee new unpopular austerity measures may be needed for Greece but the country's government insists its reforms are on track.

The austerity demanded in return for two bailouts to date has taken its toll on the Greek people, with unemployment now running at just under 28% and youth unemployment topping over 50% after six years of recession.

"Take your bailout and get out of here," a group of about 100 government workers yelled as the inspectors left after their first round of talks with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

Riot police held the protesters back.

The lenders fear that without new budget cuts or new taxes, Greece will miss a targeted primary budget surplus.

The fragile, conservative-led coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras rejects across-the-board wage and pension cuts or tax increases, arguing it deserves some leeway after delivering the biggest budget deficit reduction recorded in the euro zone.

Greek labour unions have called a general strike for Wednesday to protest against austerity policies.

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