Hundreds of pensioners took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday demanding an increase in pension payments to cope with soaring inflation and energy costs. Police estimated 1,300 people demonstrated in the centre of the capital. “With rising prices, the pension disappears in the first five days,” Georgia Farmakidi, head of a pensioner’s union from the island of Rhodes, told AFP. “The heating will not be switched on in our apartment building this year,” Farmakidi added. The protesters marched to parliament carrying banners calling for “price reductions for basic goods” and “health protection measures”. The financial crisis and strict austerity imposed across the country over the last decade have eaten into salaries and pensions. Retired factory worker Alexandros Solomos said he could not live on his 640-euro ($635) a month pension before stoppages. “How can we handle high energy prices and inflation?” asked the 75-year-old. “We are on the edge of poverty and starvation with my wife not having any income. “They reduced our pension, but those in government have enough money to live well,” he said, criticising the conservatives and the previous left-wing administration. Greece has spent nine billion euros this year to tackle the energy and Covid crises, according to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras. Inflation rose above 10 percent in Greece last April and peaked at 12.1 percent in June before starting to cool.