Protesters gathered in the street of Athens and other major Greek cities in a nationwide strike against additional austerity measures. Greece’s international lenders demand new austerity package in exchange for another round of bailout funds.
Major Greek public and private sector unions called for a strike, a day before the Greek parliament is to vote on new reforms that would help the country get the funds from 86-billion-euro bailout.
The bailout – third in seven years, is conditioned upon new pension cuts and a reduction in tax-free allowances on income. It would be 13th cut in pensions since 2010.
Greek debt crisis caused the country to adopt comprehensive austerity measures – demanded by Germany, the IMF, European Central Bank and international lenders – resulting in deep recession. Since the onset of the debt crisis, Greece has lost a quarter of its GDP, and youth unemployment rate has reached staggering 48 percent.
The protests in Athens remained largely peaceful, as 15,000 pensioners, teachers, doctors and lawyers, marched to parliament as lawmakers debated the new measures.
Clashes erupted just outside the country’s parliament as the march ended. According to reports from Reuters, police fired teargas at a group of protesters hurling petrol bombs and firecrackers at them.
The Greek parliament is expected to adopt the new measures in order to unlock bailout funds to repay the 7.5 billion euro tranche due in July.
Greece’s left-wing, Syriza-led government came in power in 2015, in the midst of deepening economic crisis, promising to bring an end to austerity measures.
Photo: REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis