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Greeks protest over government austerity plans

More protests in Athens on Saturday as demonstrators stage another rally opposing the government's tough new austerity measures. Women's groups, workers, students and pensioners joined forces to protest the cuts which they say are too harsh. SOUNDBITE) (English) PROTESTER YANNIS PAVLIDIS, PENSIONER "The pensioners are being castigated and they are taking every day more and more of their pension rights and their money that they are receiving from pension." The protest was organized by the Communist Labour Movement in support of demonstrations set to take place in the northern city of Thessaloniki. With beleaguered Prime Minister George Papandreou due to make his annual speech on the state of the economy at a trade fair here, police are taking no chances. They are enforcing a zero tolerance policy on violence using roadblocks, reinforced glass and metal barricades, water cannons and extra forces on motorcycles to maintain order. Speaking at the trade fair earlier, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the government had no choice but to implement the measures. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) FINANCE MINISTER EVANGELOS VENIZELOS SAYING: "We are completely determined without thinking of the political cost to completely adhere to our commitments that we have with our institutional partners." Greece has repeatedly come under fire from European partners for moving too slowly on reforms needed to resolve its crippling debt crisis. Sunita Rappai, Reuters

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