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Monday 5 December 2016

Reaction: Voters divided with so much to lose, so much already lost

Pro-Euro protestors shout slogans during a rally in front of the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, June 30, 2015
Pro-Euro protestors shout slogans during a rally in front of the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, June 30, 2015

AS GREECE remains on a knife edge, tourists to the country are anxious, while Greeks abroad say they are being left stranded.

With Athens in full tourist season, hotels around the capital remain fully booked, but an air of uncertainty has cast a shadow over the usually bustling streets.

A staff member at the Bureau de Change at Athens International Airport explained how it has been inundated in recent days with requests from tourists for small denomination bills.

Cash

While the ATMs are not restricted for tourists, massive queues have resulted in many being left without cash.

"The ATMs do work for tourists, but so many are empty of money. Tourist's cards do work in shops here, but a lot of places are not accepting them as they want to protect themselves and deal in cash."

As thousands of pro- European demonstrators took to the streets of Athens last night, mirroring an anti-austerity gathering on Monday, opinion in the Greek capital about what the country should do remained divided.

Taxi driver Thomas Petsas said most of his friends and colleagues were pro-Europe, wanting the Greek government to return to negotiations.

"We want to stay in the euro. We know that Tsipras is wrong. I think people don't even want this vote to happen," he said.However, younger Greeks are not so accepting. Many who are unemployed and struggling to get by are urging Tsipras to stand firm.

"It is not as bad as the media are saying here right now. Tsipras is doing the right thing. We have had five years of these cuts and they still want more. We need to be the first country in Europe to stand up and say no," said Kostaz, a young worker in the city centre.

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