Anti-austerity Protest in Athens
As the night drew on, protesters continued to crowd into the Greek capital’s central square on Sunday. They’re angry and afraid that the government’s plan for more cost cutting will affect working Greeks.
The nightly protests, now into their 19th day, have taken on a festive, peaceful atmosphere but full of critisism of the government’s economic policies.
Debate on a new package of measures begins in parliament next week. The package will include more taxes and more state spending cuts.
It is the second round of measures since 2010, when taxes were raised and wages and pensions were cut.
Greece has failed to meet fiscal targets under the 110 billion euro bailout by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). So now the Socialist government is trying to reduce the deficit quickly to avoid default.
The measures have sparked the daily protests and caused the party of Prime Minister George Papandreou to fall behind the conservative opposition in opinion polls.
The government is trying to pass the package of reforms in parliament by the end of June. But they face disgruntlement from their own party members as well as the opposition.
Demonstrators have become frustrated that everyday Greeks are paying the price of austerity instead of corrupt politicians who they blame for creating the crisis.
On Sunday, they jeered outside the parliament building and waved banners that read: „We won’t leave if they don’t leave,“ referring to the government and members of parliament.
The unions have planned a general strike for Wednesday. Protests are also expected in front of parliament on that day as the austerity package is being debated by Members of Parliament inside.