News / Europe

Greeks Dig in Their Heels, Protest Against Austerity Measures

Riot police and demonstrators clash during protests against austerity measures in Athens, June 28, 2011.
Riot police and demonstrators clash during protests against austerity measures in Athens, June 28, 2011.

Police in Athens have fired tear gas on angry protesters in Athens. The street clashes on Tuesday came on the first day of a 48-hour general strike. These are just the latest episodes in an ongoing campaign by Greek citizens against their government’s austerity measures.

Gut anger is hurled into the Greek night air as protesters rally outside parliament to tell their elected politicians that they’ve had enough.

Both night and day, a community of protesters has also formed in the main square outside parliament.

They’ve been here for over a month now. Foula Farmakidi is one of them.

“I’m here actually because I don’t think I have any other choice than to be here. We don’t have any future so we have to do something about it,” Farmakidi explained.

They’re disputing cuts in public spending and tax hikes, which over the past year have weakened the welfare state and made many jobless.

They eat here, some sleep here, and most debate politics and economics.

It’s a form of peaceful and contained action.

But the outlook on the streets has at times been more militant.

Police have fired tear gas at activists, many of them young men throwing stones and fire bombs.

And trade unions play their own major part. They’re fighting hard with strikes and marches against cuts and government plans to sell public assets, including roads, water companies, and banks.

Ektoras Kavadias is the vice-president for the union of a Greek savings bank that the government wants to sell off part of. Workers, he says, shouldn’t have to pay the price for the government’s debt.

“It’s as if there was a party going on somewhere," Kavadias said. "Some people went to the party and had a good time. Then they left the party and sent me the bill. And I wasn’t even at the party.”

Greece isn’t the only European country seeing unrest.

Spain has been hit by a series of protests since May. In its capital, Madrid, protesters calling themselves “Indignados” took over a central square for a month.

And at the Bastille in Paris the French have shown their own frustration.

Iain Begg of the London School of Economics says people across Europe are suffering from austerity.

“And the reason you see riots in the streets of Athens, the protests by the Indignants in Madrid, is that citizens are trying to give voice to this objection to being blamed for it, saying 'it’s not our fault, blame somebody else,'” Begg said.

And while the Greeks continue their ongoing and angry objection, the stability of Greece remains on a knife's edge.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid