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Greeks rush to ATMs to withdraw cash as PM announces Referendum

It started with a false claim and soon spread like wild fire. The claim on Friday evening was that a certain Greek bank had limited cash withdrawals from ATMs. The claim ‘coincided” with the fact that it was a pension payday and people had gone to the ATMs to withdraw their pension. PM Tsipras’ announcement of a Referendum amid relentless creditors put the icing on the top of uncertainty. In the middle of the night, Greeks flocked to nearby ATMs to withdraw cash. What stated with small lineups at night, it swelled to long queues during the day. Orderly queues with no sign of panic.  Yet:

The ATM Run which was much awaited and much orchestrated by certain circles – had started.

The small queues started short after 7:30 pm on Friday evening, as it was pensions payday. It often happens when pensions are been paid on Fridays as the banks close to public at 2 pm. With many jobless families without an income grandpa’s or gandma’s few hundreds euros is a blessing to cover basic needs, pay utilities.

But last night it was different. Around 9 pm some rumors on Greek social media were claiming that the Alpha Bank, one of top four systemic Greek banks, was limiting cash withdrawals to 150 euro.

Capital Controls introduced only by Alpha bank? Weird… The Alpha Bank had made an announcement on Friday morning that it would limit Web Banking functio9nality over the weekend.

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Alpha Bank had made the announcement on Friday morning, long before the Greek Prime Minister announced the Referendum. But the rumors on the social media and the recent international and local media cheering “capital controls” pushed concerned Greeks to leave their homes and rush to a ATM nearby.
The panic was triggered also by mainstream media like To Vima, or Naftemporiki that had uploaded pictures and news on ATM Run before 10 pm. they later took down the news – but screen shots are still available.
Some concerned Greeks were out anyway, after Friday’s dine out, cinema and the usual summer hanging out.
Soon pictures from small lineups outside ATMs in several suburbs of Athens started to be uploaded on the internet. It felt like a “must” to confirm ” I was there too” when the ATM Run took place.
When Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the Referendum at 1 a.m., even more concerned Greeks sought the ATMs. But it was mostly young ones as the pensioners had fallen in a deep sleep.
People were standing queue to withdraw money also at 3 o’ clock in the morning.
The ATM Run continues also on Saturday and the first ATM to run out of cash was the one at the Greek Parliament. Lawmakers flocking to the Parliament to join the Debate on Referendum first checked-in to withdraw money.
Greek media report also from queues at the few bank branches in downtown Athens that are open on Saturdays too (I did not know that…)
At the same time the rumor and fearmongering machinery is spinning at highest speed. Everyone who has a Twitter- or Facebook-account feels obliged to claim from “empty ATMs” to “€400million left Greek ATMs at night” to “imminent capital controls.”
bank run
As Saturday proceeds, the queues outside the ATMs become longer. Some of them run out of money. The Bank of Greece has reportedly gave orders to banks to keep supplying the ATMS with fresh money.
Panic is a bad adviser and there are some reports of queues at petrol stations. I saw some picture on the internet…
At the same time, some friends told me that they went to supermarket to be armed with rice, pasta, floor, cans, condense milk and frozen food items.  Many wonder if the banks will open on Monday.
Of course, there are people who continue their lives as normal. You know, the kind of people who have 0 balance at the bank and cannot withdraw anything or buy food supplies…
PS Habemus ATM Run and unfortunately I don’t like neither rice nor pasta not frozen food 🙁
bank run cyprus
Ops! Wrong picture from Cyprus Capital Controls.

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  1. Actually, after the referendum announcement withdrawing one’s money from the Greek banks is a rational decision. It is very much doubtful that ECB is allowed by its own rules to continue increasing ELA and pretend that there will be an agreement after the negotiations have broken down and the Greek prime minister started campaigning against the Yes vote. As soon as ELA increases stop, capital controls would actually be a positive way to introduce some order to the ensuing chaos. At least everybody will be able to withdraw money for basic necessities. Unfortunately, I do not expect the Greek government to introduce capital controls. Tsipras’s primary motivation is to be popular. He would not want to be associated with an unpopular decision to introduce capital control. Of course, the much worse situation of disorderly bank run can always be blamed on the blackmail of the creditors ahead of the referendum.

  2. Its rational for people to protect themselves. What is not permissible is the attempt’s to induce panic and sabotage the Greek economy and society by the “institutions” and their minions inside and outside Greece (including a lot of the international media).
    The Greek people and government must be ready to use all weapons and instruments to defend democracy and popular sovereignty.

    The people of Greece will decide, that in itself, is a huge challenge to the rule of the oligarchs and “institutions”, they will stop at nothing to sabotage democracy.

    Resit Greek Heroes!

    • Greece standard of living will now drop severely. Pensioners will see cuts much bigger than in EZ proposal. Economy has nowhere to go but down. Young people will emigrate, because that’s the only way to support themselves and their ageing parents and grandparents.
      Good job Tsipras (genius politician), Varoufakis (genius economist) and the supporting cast of other Syriza geniuses.

    • Why should I, EU taxpayer, pay for greek debts? Never. Gtexit and never come back. Go ask money with Putin

      • moron: you will continue paying for private banks because that is what your government decided, without asking you. Greece is a sideshow, but you are stupid enough to have been tricked into watching it. The main film is in your own country.

        • Morons are those who were not been able to have sustainable economy (especially economists and politicians) and now instead of accepting sipmple fact, that they simply used more than produced, they speak goodnight stories.
          you borrowed (not a film)
          you wasted (not a film nor Germans)
          you cheated
          you still don’t have even transparent accounting in public sector

          • If Germany did not have the euro — with its low value caused by weaker economies such as Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece — it would not have a functioning economy. The German economy has stalled domestic demand and survives off the back of southern countries with its lower export prices to countries outside the eurozone (and prior to 2010 to southern Europe).

            So, let’s not have any more of this moralising about the German economic sucess: it is parasitic behaviour, dressed up as virtue for those stupid enough to believe it. That would be you, obviously.

          • Exactly:)

          • Let me ask you something xenos. Ive been thinking about this. IF I understand you correctly at least part of this crisis wouldnt have happened if the wages here hadnt stagnated. So higher wages means higher consumption means less trade imbalances right?
            But what are the people supposed to consume? And how much more?
            More cars? More food? More what? Of course there are some people who could use quite a bit more money in their pockets, but even hartz4 ppl have enough for all the basic needs. Also wages are already very high compared to the rest of world, shouldnt other countries benefit first?
            I get the primary logic behind the higher wages argument, but I feel that argument itself is trapped in the infinite loop of capitalism with its more more more.
            Strange as that may sound I probably lean more to Giaourti and an end to money all together, just dont think this will work in greece alone.

          • I do not understand what you are asking. Are you talking about Germany or Greece? Regardless of the answer, higher consumption does not mean a smaller trade imbalance: normally, higher consumption would be expected to increase trade imbalance as the extra demand would be satisfied by imports.

            The issue with wage levels (for Greece) is this. In the early days of the euro (2001-2009), the increased access to credit led to slightly higher wages (much higher for the rich) and increased consumption possibilities. The high X-rate for the Greek economy made imported goods far cheaper and Greek consumers switched from domestically produced goods to imported ones. This damaged Greek production and employment, and also led to massive trade imbalance. In effect, eurozone membership fucked up the Greek economy, while at the same time allowing unprecedented access to cheap capital.

            Since the crisis, the collapse of employment, wages and pensions has led to depression, contraction of the economy by 25%, and a small degree of increased competitiveness (even with the euro as the currency). It has not led to significant reduction in trade imbalances, because people are buying cheap imports from China and India as well as some continued luxury imports from Germany, Japan etc, alongside some continued food imports where Greek production has been unavailable or unable to assume its traditional market space.

            If the eurozone had wanted to help the Greek economy recover and pay its debts, instead of destroying the economy they would have permitted temporary import restrictions or duties, insisted on logical restructuring that did not plunge 33% of the labour force into unemployment but did improve competitiveness and production quality, helped the State provide export guidance and assistance to the private sector, and discuss politely the operation of certain public sector institutions. They chose instead to impose austerity and destroy Greece, in order to repay debts that can never be repaid.

          • If somebody wants change and manage something, he should measure it first to decrease wasting and corruption.
            1. But Greeks still did not implement even transparent public sector accounting? Why? I am sure creditors are not against. It costs almost nothing. But it seems there is no will to fight with corruption.
            2. If you have such a high uneployment and highest pensions/GDP Europe, logical solution is to decrease pensions to save money. It saves money and increase of uneployment is only marginal.

          • I meant higher wages and consumption in germany. Wages here have basically stagnated or even gone down during the last 20 years.
            So if wages in germany had kept up with productivity increases instead of all that money going to the bosses and owners would that have helped the periphery via higher imports?
            I guess that wouldve been my first question.
            Its more complicated then it looks at first glance. If the basic idea is higher wages in ger lead to more ger import from the south and thereby reduces the imbalance,I somewhat understand it but I see two connected problems, one specific and one in general.
            The specific one is what products from the south would the workers by with their higher wages? If it ends in tourism or more high quality mediteranian food fine, but if ends up in more Iphones and cheap chinese toys the eu as whole might get problems wih trade deficit.
            And in general I just wonder just what more the population of rich countries like the usa or japan or germany is supposed to consume. Like I said, even hartz4 receivers basically have all their needs(food, shelter acces to healthcare and education and a chance to participate in social life) satisfied, of course they could use a bit more money but thats for wants and not needs.

          • Yes, wages were cut in Germany prior to the euro leading to increased competitiveness of German exports. When that happened, wages should have been raised and they were not. The workers in Germany were deliberately exploited in order to maximise company profits and the income of the 1%. This is the period in German economic history when it shifted from being the most egalitarian country (after Sweden) in the EU to being one of the worst, along with the UK (and now Greece).

            Your Germans voted for right wing governments that wanted this to happen. You re-elected them. The same can be said for the UK. At least the Greek people have had the sense to elect a government that is not trying to screw them — albeit rather late in the day.

          • “At least the Greek people have had the sense to elect a government that is not trying to screw them — albeit rather late in the day.”

            The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe the current Greek government have succeeded to make life marginally more difficult for the rich Greeks (although they were given plenty of advance notice to move funds out of Greece). However, the government is in the process of screwing up economically and financially their electorate most and foremost. I am not certain whether stoking their sense of envy (or fairness?) makes up for it.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            “Greeks borrowed, cheated, wasted” is hate speech, in German “Volksverhetzung” if you don’t believe that go visit your local police station and have a nice sleep; unfortunatly you won’t share the prison with Greeks you could tell your hunt but, hey may be you meet Turks or antifascists.

          • “Greeks borrowed, cheated, wasted” is hate speech, in German “Volksverhetzung”
            You can see it in others, Giaourti, so why at least sometimes use similar derogatory language?

          • 1. Sorry guys but it I don’t read German newspapers.
            2. Did greeks borrowed a lot? Sure they did, it is not hate speech, it is just a description of reality. You can check this in statistics.
            3. Did Greeks wasted? – I think they not only did, but they continue to waste despite austerity measures, because they still spend too much on pensions e.t.c. – but
            here is more difficult to verify what is wasting and what is not.
            4. Did Greeks cheated on statistics? Clearly yes. Why do you call it a hate speech? Do you want to say NO?

            It is very sad, that you are not able to accept simple truth, and you consider it a hate speech.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            Gypsies steal and Greeks cheat
            Anglo-Saxon media put a big question mark behind “cooked books”!
            You only read German lies translated, hmm
            If they were cooked then in 2002, that means after getting member and long after improvement by EU
            Of 11 million Greeks may be max 500.000 borrowed more than a Drachma
            How can Greeks waste money if they don’t even have a welfare state with public assistance, 3 million without healthcare, 500.000 Athenians “living” in their cars and of 1.5 million unemployed max 100.000 get their last 360 euro allowance the next months from their insurance against unemployment

          • Bla bla bla, back to facts:
            Did Greeks borrowed too much a) Yes b) No
            Did Greece created on statistics a) Yes b) No

          • How can Greeks waste?
            1. First of all they DID waste before crisis
            2. They still have highest pensions/GDP in Europe
            3. They do not have transparent public sector accounting
            4. (As far as I am concerned) they have still high miliary expensions.
            Clear enough?

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            You are “concerned” about, aha, are you pro-Islamic State invading Crete or what? As this the only geopolitics that matter here, not all this Russia-blabla. Who will do the job then? The Germans who made more movies about traumatized German soldiers in Afghanistan than traumatized soldiers?
            One will see what the Turkish army will do, last time a Greek warn-shot missed their frigate 250 meters and there’s no explosion in Turkish media…
            BoG cooked books to fake the “weak exports” and create the “non competitive Greece” by ignoring the booming Greek economy until 2008 and the Greek fleet and also that lots of their dollars get send into Greece.
            About this and the other (your “Jewish conspiracy”) stuff trials will decide

          • Some greeks borrowed and cheated and wasted, just like there are germans/brits/americans/chinese…. who do such things. The problem is the generalization and oftentimes the included judgement of a whole group of people.

          • No no no 🙂
            The problem is that Greeks were cheating on statistisc (The whole state was cheating) and here we must generalize, because Greece as such was cheating.
            The same about borrowing.

          • Not greece as such. The government. Naturally the electorate takes a part of that blame but thats still different from “the greeks”

      • Giaourti Giaourtaki

        Nope, as Putin and Merkel are old bedfellows since their KGB-FDJ-courses times, there she learnt “reform” in its meaning she and her “Europeans” use it today, Orwellian style invented by Stalin.
        No wonder as since day one they blackmail, gamble like shell-gamers and lie with their Goebbels-media and turn reality upside down just as been taught by Stasi in GDR.

  3. Game over

    • For the euro? Yes, almost certainly. The German arrogance has led to this.

      • For populist who were gambling with their country. I hope not for the country itself. Best luck for Greece and Greeks. This sad moment for Greece is howewer good example that even in Europe there are deadlines, and voters in Spain, Portugal and Italy will see what will probably happen to their countries if populists will be elected.

        Good luck also to you Xenos.

        • Giaourti Giaourtaki

          You’d better not forget Italian history, such a democratic comedia won’t happen there, the people will get their guns to fight this perfect crime called “democracy” – but wait, may be they will laugh a lot if the referendum won’t find over 40%

          • ATM referendum?

            Anyway, good luck Giaourti.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            After all you are still too blind to read that it is more than questionable if a majority has money in banks or indeed have any money at all and the ones who have just understand that the money (and it’s THEIR MONEY!) they’ve put into banks is not there, the banks just stole it to buy other banks or whatever.
            Probably most idiots in compliance with the capitalist murder system will only understand the Dalton Brothers: “What, we can’t rob this bank, the money must be printed first?”

      • Then why are the Greek people try to get as many Euro as possible out of the ATMs? Surely planing to wallpaper their living rooms!

        • Giaourti Giaourtaki

          No, today is record-buy day, all Greeks buy vinyl records so that the prices for Greek music will explode and kill the bourses via ebay

  4. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    It’s just typical for the capitalist criminal system to not have the savers money in their safes.
    If they wouldn’t have stolen this money already the people could get 150 billion from their accounts.

    • Well, Greeks will have soon trillions of socialist drahma in their accounts (like in Zimbabwe)…. Hope the government saved some euros to buy printing machines from the “criminal” capitalists. So, the pensioners and public servants will be happy that the capitalists will not steal their money. Soon the tragedy is changing in a comedy… Good luck!

      • Giaourti Giaourtaki

        In socialism no money printing is necessary because socialism only works without the money-system, what you call socialism is just state-capitalism.
        Anarchy instead of Xaos!

  5. cyril mcdonnell

    cnn greeks shut out of emergency creditors meeting the ‘game’ is over their bluff has been called god help the population

  6. My account is with the Alpha bank.
    as I withdraw Money today there was no line of People.
    I was the only one.
    To be honest after me , wehn I left the machine,there was a woman.
    but I could not see Panic.

  7. Syriza: from a recovering economy to financial abyss. Well done lefties!

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      As statistics get usually published 3 months later nobody can claim any “recovery”, and oh wonder, in March published statistics showed the opposite of recovery for the last quarter in 2014, also the “bank-run” goes on since 9 months, better thank the Goebbels media to ignore these facts.

  8. Varoufakis changed austerity to inflation. But never told the people off course

    • What??!! Do you people just make up this shit, or is Schaeuble emailing it to you directly?

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      People are stupid and can’t think for themselves or what?
      They are only allowed to make their cross every 4 years but if they are so stupid all elections are fake.

  9. Xenos, I m happy for you that you like tge current situation. If you manage to pay your internet account in 3 month time I ll send you a pic of me drinking a cocktail ftom a sunny beach in Down Under. My country has at least managed not to ruin themselves.

    • How does my comment that you are talking absolute shit about economics lead to your claim that I “like the current situation”? Nobody likes the current situation, so what the fuck are you drivelling about?

      If inflation is the only result of the rejection of decades of enforced slavery proposed by Germany, then Greece will be very lucky indeed. That does not alter the fact that a sovereign country cannot be asked to continue punishing its people with poverty because some Nazis decided that banks are more important than human lives. We have been through all of this before, and the Germans lost. Nazi ideology is not acceptable any more in Europe.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      “Your country” belongs to the people authorities take their kids hostage, get imprisoned on illegal British laws and get concentrated in ghettos, you’re just a squatter.