ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Thousands of striking Greek municipal workers marched through Athens on Thursday to press for better employment status, in the latest of a series of protests that have hindered trash collection in major cities.
Authorities said that about 5,000 people took part in the demonstration. Protesters briefly scuffled with police, who used tear gas to prevent them from pushing into the parliament complex. No arrests were reported, while two protesters suffered respiratory problems from the tear gas..
Earlier, some demonstrators had dumped trash outside the interior ministry building.
Union officials want the left-led government to grant full-time, permanent state jobs to municipal workers employed on short-term contracts that have expired or are about to expire.
A high court has ruled unconstitutional a government attempt to extend the contracts of municipal trash collectors, and government officials say they are seeking an alternative solution.
Union members have for days been hindering trash collection across the country, and municipal authorities in Athens and other major cities have asked the public to keep their refuse at home.
Greece has been forced to drastically cut public spending and reduce state sector hiring over the past seven years under its international bailout agreements.