Greeks hand kids to taxman in anti-austerity protest

ATHENS Wed Oct 3, 2012 10:59am EDT

ATHENS (Reuters) - Dozens of angry Greek parents handed over their children to bewildered officials on Wednesday in a symbolic protest against the abolition of tax breaks for large families as part of cuts demanded by foreign lenders.

"Here you go, you can raise them," Nikolaos Smoloktos, head of the group representing Greeks with three or more children in the town of Drama, northern Greece, told the tax director.

The parents held banners reading "Stop killing our families" in one hand and strollers in the other as they walked straight into the director's office and pushed their children towards him to make their protest.

Greece's cash-strapped government has pledged austerity measures worth about 12 billion euros for 2013 and 2014 to try to secure more aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to keep it afloat.

But the conservative-led coalition has come under growing pressure from Greeks, who have begun a series of protests and strikes against the latest round of cutbacks.

"We are used to making sacrifices but this is too much," Smoloktos, a father of four, told Reuters by telephone after the protesters left, taking their children with them.

"We just hope they'll change their mind and vote against these horrible measures."

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alison Williams)

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