Saturday 22 October 2016

It's a big fat Greek No to Syriza's 'betrayal' in Europe, say marchers


thousands of Greeks displayed their anger as they took to the streets to object over what they see as the extreme concessions on taxes, pensions and privatisation.

The Greeks are not happy. Although their prime minister Alexis Tsipras made vital concessions which shows they are serious about reform, many ordinary citizens feel it is a step too far.

Members of the Communist party gathered in Syntagma Square chanting outside Parliament buildings - where the Syriza government prepared to further debate and vote on the plans.

While the party had called for a 'No' to both proposals in last Sunday's referendum, some of those who gathered to protest described the actions of the country's leaders in putting forward new concessions as a betrayal of the people.

"We're demonstrating against the measures being considered by this Government in appeasing Europe," said 24-year-old student Chris.

"They had arranged the referendum in such a way as they could do as they liked, and this is what is happening."

He said he saw only one option for Greece now.

"We must leave the Euro, it is the only way we can have true democracy," Chris added.

Katerina Thoidou (41) described it as a betrayal.

"It is better to split the EU than to accept this," she said. "This is not what the voters demanded."

However, not everyone supported the stance taken by the several thousand-strong crowd.

Vassilis Adrianoupolitis (38), a policeman who lost his job two years ago, was among another group drawn to the centre of Athens, urging the Government to work to stay in the Euro.

"We have to pull the brakes on where we are going. Not just for the 'Yes' voters but for the 'No' voters also. People were told lies - that has become clear," he said.

"I lost my job, I know what it's like, but we need to make decisions not just for ourselves but for the good of the country."

After years of austerity, many fear the past fortnight has been the final death knell for already struggling sectors.

The decimated construction industry collapsed completely, already-stretched hospitals ran out of vital supplies and the struggling tourist sector suffered huge losses.


The affected areas could easily have seen their mirror image in Ireland, where we saw the fortunes of the same sectors plummet, but the sheer scale of the Greek destruction goes far beyond anything we had experienced or could even imagine.

This fortnight alone 40,000 construction jobs were lost at one stroke, pensioners collapsed as they queued desperately for a €120 pittance and riot police were a constant reminder that the situation was a powder keg.

No one in Greece is confident that their future is in their own hands.

"It might not be up to us anymore, that is what people are so worried about," said Eleania (42) who works in the banking sector.

"Europe may decide it won't back Greece anyway because we can't keep our promises. The Government lied to the people. Many of my friends voted Oxi ('No') thinking there was no question of a 'Grexit'. But is is all a sham. They were promised a better deal with fewer cuts, but we are now facing more," she added.

While pro-Europeans breathed a sigh of relief at news of the proposed concessions, for 'No' supporters the news was a slap in the face. One worker looked on the verge of tears as he spoke about the proposed concessions.

"Why did we fight then? What was it for? he asked.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News