Madison on the Med

by Denis Boyles

Public employees protesting in Athens and elsewhere against Greek taxpayers must have heard Massachusetts Democrat Mike Capuano, a former champion of “civil discourse,” loud and clear when he told union members, “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody.” But apparently they missed his subsequent apology, since the Greek protests turned violent again yesterday and police had to try to quell stone- and bomb-throwing rioters. According to Deutsche Welle:

Central Athens was covered in tear gas after demonstrations there turned violent. Thousands of workers and others were on strike in protest against economic austerity measures that unions called ineffective.

An AP report said a union member employed by the police department was attacked and set on fire in a main Athens square by rioters supporting union members, although the AP didn’t quite word it that way. A Greek public-employee union explained the complex economics behind the riots: “People and their needs are above profits and numbers.” There must be speculation about how soon reporters pretending to be David Koch would be able to put through a prank call to Prime Minister George Papandreou.

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