(The Guardian) – Greek crisis: Protests in Athens turn violent as Tsipras urges MPs to back him

Riot police have clashed with anarchist groups in Athens tonight, as Greece’s PM Tsipras faces rebellion over the country’s bailout plan
Read More: Greek crisis: Protests in Athens turn violent as Tsipras urges MPs to back him – live updates | Business | The Guardian

 

 

 

A column of anti-austerity protesters are currently marching in a loop through central Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and its seafront.

The mood is calm, and not everyone is in the streets – the marchers just passed a pirate-themed ship full of revellers.

“Maybe there’s about a thousand here – with VAT,” jokes one protester, in a reference to the huge VAT hikes that the new bail-out will precipitate, inflating the cost of daily living.

There is a sense of anger, but also of disorientation – and uncertainty about what to do, and who to blame.

“I feel very confused about the situation,” says Giorgos, a middle-aged pharmacist who lost his job two weeks ago.

“I feel very angry about the memorandum, but also I have no problem for the moment with Tsipras. He was under a lot of pressure, and this is a coup.”

Giorgos is resentful of the EU, whose leaders have shown no compassion to a family like his – a family whose two breadwinners have lost their jobs. But equally he doesn’t want to leave the euro, not yet anyway.The feeling shared by other marchers.

“It’s more complicated than that,” says Varvara Kyrillidou, an Italian teacher and Syriza member protesting against her party leader’s decision.

“To leave Europe behind, we need a plan – without a plan it’s very risky for our people. And at the moment we haven’t got one.”

Greece ideally needs to sit down and have a rethink, says Kyrillidou – but she knows there isn’t time.

“We’re between two walls that are closing in on us.”

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