Greek police clash with protesting shipyard workers

ATHENS Thu Oct 4, 2012 8:04am EDT

1 of 4. Protesters run to escape arrest during clashes with riot police in the courtyard of the Defence Ministry in Athens October 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police clashed with protesting shipyard workers who stormed the Defence Ministry complex in Athens on Thursday demanding back pay that they said they were owed.

About 250 workers from the Hellenic Skaramangas shipyard (HSY) forced their way into the complex by pulling up a shutter and stood in the ministry's grounds chanting "We want solutions, not layoffs!".

The head of the army's general staff, General Mihail Kostarakos, came out to address the protesters but was booed and heckled.

Scuffles broke out when police surrounded the workers and used truncheons to beat them back, television images showed. One man could be seen with a bloodied face, while another could be seen being dragged away by police as he tried to enter the ministry building.

The workers allege that they have not been paid for six months because the near-bankrupt Greek state has not paid the shipyard's owner, Abu Dhabi March The company was not immediately available for comment

Protests have been picking up in recent days against austerity cuts that Greece has promised its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders in a bid to get aid to keep afloat.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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