Protests in Greece against bailout terms

RSTV Bureau

Greece-newHundreds of anti-austerity protesters demonstrated against the bailout terms accepted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The protesters gathered in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, shouting anti-austerity slogans.

“Tsipras and his government betrayed the Greek people,” shouted a protester.

On Monday, Eurozone nations and Tsipras agreed to a three-year bailout worth up to 86 billion euros in return for tough reforms to the pensions system, VAT and labour laws.

The new bailout terms which ensures that Greece stays within the Eurozone are said to be even more strict than the previous ones offered. The new deal will bring further austerity to the debt-stricken nation. The government also agreed to sell off state assets worth 50 billion euros, primarily to pay off debt.

According to the new deal, six sweeping measures including spending cuts, tax hikes and pension reforms must be enacted by Wednesday (July 15) night and the entire bailout package must be endorsed by Parliament before the talks start.

Many Tsipras supporters are beginning to feel disillusioned. They see the bailout deal as a bend down by Greece government. They feel that Tsipras turned his back on them under pressure to secure the deal.

“We came here in support of the ‘No’ vote that the Greek people voted for. A vote that the government erased in the blink of an eye,” said Nikos, a disillusioned protester at Syntagma Square in Athens.

“The people need to send a message, just as they sent one from the polls last week that these measures will not be accepted. They are not allowed. We need to stand tall and be strong, “said another protester.

On July 5, in a nation-wide vote, an overwhelming 61 per cent of the voters said ‘No’ to austerity and rejected the reforms proposed by creditors in a referendum called by Tsipras. Post the referendum result, Tsipras’ leftist government promised that he will not come under the pressure of international creditors and agree to drastic reforms.

However, in the marathon 17-hour long emergency Euro meet in Brussels, Tsipras seems to have broken every promise he made.

Tsipras now faces the big challenge of getting the Greek Parliament to pass the conditions for bailout before Wednesday, July 15.

Tsipras’ coalition partners are also up in arms.

“I want to be clear that this deal is beyond the agreement that political leaders made with the Greek president and that the Greek parliament approved,” said Greek Defence Minister and leader of the Independent Greeks Party, Panos Kammenos.

Tricky days ahead for Tsipras, as he will have to fight hard in Parliament to keep his government in tact as the leftwingers in his party have already denounced the proposed reforms.