Greek Anti-Austerity Protesters Occupy Siemens Office In Athens

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ATHENS (Reuters) – A small group of demonstrators occupied the Athens headquarters of German industrial group Siemens on Monday, police and company officials said, in a protest against the austerity policies imposed on Greece by its lenders.

About 30 people entered the building in a northern Athens suburb, occupying the Siemens offices and hanging a banner outside the main entrance ahead of a scheduled rally to the German embassy planned for later this month.

“We are not negotiating with domestic and foreign capitalists,” read the banner. The protesters also threw flyers saying: “We won’t become a colony of Germany or any other Imperialist power”.

Many Greeks blame Germany for the harsh austerity policies that the country’s international lenders have demanded in exchange for 240 billion euros ($268 billion) of bailout funds since 2010.

“It’s a peaceful protest,” Siemens Hellas spokeswoman Mari Agaliotou said. “The protesters are expected to leave within the day.”

Greece has a history of anti-establishment protests by leftists with frequent skirmishes between police and youths during rallies.

Anti-austerity protesters occupied several public buildings in Greece and briefly entered the grounds of parliament in Athens last month, calling for the release of jailed members of a Marxist group.