The heat is up today in Greece, literally and metaphorically, and protesters started as early as 9 o’clock in the morning to flock towards the Parliament and Syntagma square in Athens downtown. It is estimated that 300,000 people came to downtown Athens yesterday. Many thousands gathered in 20 cities across the country. Protesters with strong anti-Memorandum slogans demanded the government to resign and/or cancel the agreements with the lenders. Maybe early elections is not a bad idea, after all. They will give both the Greek government and its lenders time, and ‘relief and hope’ to Greek citizens.
Yesterday’s protest that was meant to be the biggest of the last decades was violently destroyed by the presence of a small group of what …? “Anarchists?” “Agents Provocateurs”? There was sharp criticism again as to why the police doesn’t arrest them. Quite some journalists expressed the view that ‘these so-called anarchists serve the purposes of the government not to allow very big scale demonstrations and to scare people from joining the protests. However the are signs that today’s protest will be as massive as yesterday. It was interesting that yesterday riot police did not make excessive use of tear gas and violence as in other recent protests. It’s not clear whether this has to do with the fact that there is a new chief in Greek Police (EL.AS.) or the government finally got ashamed of all these violent scenes hinting that the country is not so European after all.
To the aid of anti-austerity and anti-government protests comes also the good weather with shining sun and temperatures up to 23° C – no wonder the Germans, the Dutch and all bad-weather Europeans want to get Greece under their control. It’s the sun, folks!
The Multi Bill is to be voted in the Parliament today. The much hated bill foresees among others 1) labour reserve for at least 30,000 civil servants 2) A -40% cuts in pensions for those under 55 years old as of Nov1st 3) decrease of tax-free yearly income from €8,000 down to €5,000, whereas the poverty threshold within the EU is 6,500 EUR. This will cost household 2-3 monthly salaries due to increased taxes. 4) The bill puts a huge grave-stone on labour rights -article 37 on the bill.
Yesterday Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told MPs that the bill is precondition for the sixth tranche and that without the bill the catastrophe will come. “If you don’t vote for the bill, there will be no next day for PASOK, neither for the country. There will be only night” said Venizelos. That’s another blackmail form the side of the government, we’ve heard everything before, this government has made ‘blackmail’ the main banner of its policies….
Anyway the bill was voted last night ‘in principle’ (154 YES, 141 NO) and today it’s going to be voted ‘by article’. It looks as if the bill will do pass today and then become law of the country. Until now only one PASOK MP insists of not voting. Decided in the behaviour of ruling party MPs is whether the PASOK officials will expel those voting against the bill. With a thin majority of 154 seats (out of 300) PASOK cannot afford to get …slimmer. Or can it?
The Troika’s final report on Greece’s fiscal progress is to be released today and will most likely grant the sixth aid tranche. Experience has shown so far that the same blackmails and uproars will happen also for the 7th tranche, the 8th tranche…
These Troika’s reports remind me of the EU’s progress reports on Turkey. Gloating satisfaction can backfires….
Is the Greek debt sustainable? Nobody believes it. The haircut is inevitable… Reports want Germany to favor a haircut of more than 50%.
Prime Minister George Papandreou met leaders of political parties yesterday and ‘asked’ their consent. Papandreou had to confirm once more that he is desperately alone. He will go alone to Brussels and ‘negotiate’ our future, our children’s future and the future of our grand-children…
However, Greece has lost all its negotiation cards from the very first moment it accepted its lenders’ dictates without any preconditions . In fact the others decide and the Greek PM just says ‘Yes’. It hit our eyes when yesterday no Greek official was present at the mini eurozone summit in Frankfurt. Nicholas Sakrozy left alone Carla Bruni on the labour bed to rush and save Greece. Sarkozy became father of a girl, Greece got nothing.
Second day of the strike, but shops are open today. METRO stations Syntagma and Evaggelismos are closed today too.
It looks as if a Live Blogging is due today, too, with the latest on protests, bill voting and whatever the day brings…
Thank you so much for your positive feed back, the supportive words and solidarity with the Greek people! If nothing else, we need at least psychological back up 🙂