Brutal Scenes From Greek Anti-Austerity Protests

August 20, 2018

After eight years of austerity, four governments, three bailout programs, a country full of misery, a capital full of protesters, and a whole galaxy of Molotov cocktails, firecrackers, riots, and clashes with police, Greece does not seem to have moved forward at all. As Greece prepares to exit its third bailout program since 2010, The Daily Stirrer takes a look at the latest outbreak of Greek street protests, the result of almost nine crisis-filled years.

In one particularly violent episode, a mass brawl broke out outside the Ministry of Administrative Reform in Athens, this clip shows demonstrators being rather brutally pushed back by riot police.

Mass rallies in Athens always seem to descend into violence, like the one featured below, as Greece’s parliament voted on further erosions of Greek sovereignty to unlock the EU bailout money, with protesters chanting against Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and throwing incendiary flares at police wearing anti-riot gear.

Since the Greek crisis started in late 2009, the country has racked up a massive debt and pursued strict austerity policies to unlock international emergency loans. In 2015, Greece’s creditors — the Eurozone and the IMF — launched a third stability support program in eight years. The bailout, which made up some 86 billion euros, was provided in exchange for austerity measures that included pension cuts and tax increases. It is scheduled to expire on August 20, 2018, but Greece’s road to recovery is not over yet, and will not be over until the nation is released from the suffocating constraints of The Euro (€) the European Union single currency.

 

Why I voted for Brexit

I often get asked, As a Brexit supporter ca you give me one definite advantage of leaving the largest trading bloc in the world?

Well where do I start?

The question asks me to state the reasons why I voted the way I did but it is the wrong question all the same.

I voted for ‘leave’ but I didn’t vote to leave a trading bloc. I voted to leave because I had lost faith with the ability of the European Union to be able to successfully govern itself. There have been several tests of the EU governance model over the past decade or so and, in my opinion, the EU has failed almost all of them.

  1. The way that the EU treated Greece during their financial collapse was a salutary moment for me. I am not Greek, have never been there and don’t really have any intention to in the future, but the way that the EU put the interests of the German banks ahead of the outcome of the population was scandalous. A community of nations? Not a chance!
  2. The EU should never have allowed the Greeks to get themselves into the situation whereby their economy would go into free fall. Everyone knew the Greeks were fiddling the books, not paying taxes, running up huge pension liabilities etc, but nothing was done because the EU desperately wanted Greece in the single currency system and that political goal was more important that the welfare of the Greek population.
  3. Nothing ever is done to address real problems because the political goals (ever closer union, a single currency, an EU army etc. take priority, and that is the Achilles heel of the EU. Italy is in an equally parlous state: its banks are basically bust, tax avoidance is high and it has severe budgetary problems. Nothing will be done by the EU and they will do everything in their power to obstruct any action by the Eurosceptic government of Lega amd Five Star aimed at tacking the problem.
  4. The Southern European countries are all still suffering from a decade of zero growth Or negative growth), high unemployment and stagnation. I had a plethora of talented and skilled Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks and Cypriots work for me in London. I know they are not coming to London for the weather or the food. They are coming because their economies have collapsed and they are unable to find work. A generation of youth has been failed.
  5. The failure to offer a coherent and viable approach to the migration issue of a few years ago was the final straw. Again the Southern European countries who had to deal with the huge influx received no meaningful assistance. They were (and still are) thrown under the proverbial bus.

These are just a few examples of some of the biggest failures of coherent governance within the EU and national governments. This is not sustainable in the long term, you cannot keep “kicking the can down the road”. Things need to fundamentally change but I do not have any faith the required political will is there.

Ultimately I took the view that the EU did not have the political will or capability to join too many disparate political views and requirements together. The Northern bloc, Southern bloc and Eastern bloc have economies and histories/cultural biases that will take generations to merge even if the political will is there. It isn’t. This doesn’t end well and I don’t want my children to be tied into an organisation that is not capable of running itself.

Now this is not to say that I think that life outside the EU will be easy for the UK. It won’t. I am also not saying that the governance model in the UK is exemplary. It isn’t and the London centric bias needs to be fundamentally reviewed. But I am taking the very long view and I think that when the day of reckoning comes for the EU, which it will unless the EU is able to fundamentally change the way it is run and operated, then the UK (and my children) will have built up a diversified and resilient trading capability with the whole world and not just the parochial view it currently has with the EU.

Clearly the above analysis is flawed if you think the EU is well governed and you feel that I have fundamentally misunderstood what has happened over the past decade.

 

Greek Government Survives No Confidence Vote in Parliament

greek-parliament-photo-hellenic-parliament-aliki-eleftheriou

via AFP

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras managed to overcome a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday, creating conditions for the signing of an accord with Macedonia to settle a long-term name dispute.

The vote was initiated by the opposition New Democracy party, which blamed him for making too many concessions over the agreement, but repelled by Tsipras supporters.

During the vote, thousands of Greeks gathered outside the parliament building, urging the Prime Minister to resign. Police used tear gas in the center of Athens against the group of protesters who tried to break into the parliament, the Athens news agency AMNA reported Saturday.

Several dozen people protesting against the agreement on the new constitutional name with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia tried to climb up the stairs to the parliament building in Syntagma Square, and the police used gas to stop them, the agency reported.

The no-confidence vote initiative failed to reach its goals as Tsipras government has 154 out of 300 in the parliament.

Clashes in Greece as Thousands Protest EU Austerity

Police and anti - austerity protestors clash in Athens

An anti-austerity protest march in the Greek capital Athens turned violent Wednesday as a general strike, of which the protest was part, halted flights, ferries and public transportation across the country. Thousands joined similar anti – austerity marches across the country to protest against sancions imposed by the EU that have plunged many Greek citizens into poverty. A small group of protesters threw petrol bombs and fired flares at riot police after the marchers were halted. Police responded with tear gas.

While riot police were dealing with the violent protestors, other police officers, protesting against pay cuts and other measures imposed because of EU economic controls blocked the entrance to a Finance Ministry building.

The new measures that will be imposed beyond the end of Greece’s third bailout next year, including pension cuts and tax hikes, will only serve to strengthen opposition in Greece to continued membership of the EU and patricularly the Eurpean single currency (Eurozone) which Germany has used to shaft many of the EU’s smaller member states. The left-led coalition government agreed to the cuts as part of a deal with the country’s international creditors to release funds from its bailout. Needless to say those creditors, with the complicity of the Euronazi bureaucratic dictatorship in Brussels has shat on the Greek people to serve the interests of big finance and corporate business.

At the height of the strike action, thousands of protesters marched through central Athens toward parliament in a series of demonstrations. “No to the new looting of salaries and pensions,” civil servants union ADEDY said.

Police union members hung a giant banner off the side of Lycabettus Hill in the center of Athens, with a slogan in German and Greek reading “how much is the life of a Greek policeman worth?”

Public hospitals were functioning with emergency staff only, while public transport was disrupted, leaving many main roads gridlocked in the capital. Intercity trains were not running, and there was no subway service between Athens airport and the city. Courts were shut while lawyers and notaries public backed away from official duties, and customs and local government offices were closed.

Air traffic controllers were holding a four-hour work stoppage in the middle of the day, leading to the rescheduling or cancellation of more than 150 flights. Ferries were also tied up in port until late Friday after seamen began a four-day strike Tuesday.

Unless bailout funds are unlocked, Greece would once more struggle to meet a spike in debt repayments due this summer and face another brush with bankruptcy.

In parliament, lawmakers were debating the measures that include additional pension cuts in 2019 and higher income tax from 2020, ahead of a Thursday midnight vote.

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Labels: [Europe] [LWTC]

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