And it is the country's most vulnerable who suffer.

"When the pharmacies are closed and I can't get my insulin, which is my life for me, what do I do? ... How can we survive?" asked Voula Hasiotou, a member of an association of diabetics who turned out for the rally.

The disabled still receive benefits on a sliding scale according to the severity of their condition. But they are terrified they could face cuts, and are affected anyway by general spending cuts and the pharmacy problems.

"We are fighting hard to manage something, a dignified life," said Anastasia Mouzakiti, a paraplegic who came to the demonstration from the northern city of Thessaloniki with her husband, who is also handicapped.

With extra needs such as wheelchairs and home help for everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, many of Greece's disabled are struggling to make ends meet, Mouzakiti said.

"We need a wheelchair until we die. This wheelchair, if it breaks down, how do we pay for it? With what money?"

___

Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece contributed to this story.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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