Massive response by the Greek workers to new cuts and austerity
Niall Mulholland spoke to Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece) a participant in last weekend’s huge protests in Athens.
Last Sunday, the Greek parliament voted to make new austerity cuts that are demanded by the EU and IMF in return for a huge bailout, to prevent Greece defaulting on its massive debts. The savage austerity measures were demanded by the European Union as a precondition for releasing the funds. But the cuts provoked a massive response by the Greek workers, with a 24 hour strike on Tuesday 7th February and another 48 hour general strike on Friday and Saturday 10th and 11 of February. This is unprecedented in the post war history of the country. Enormous protests took place throughout Greece.
The demonstration on Sunday 12th February, in central Athens, was enormous despite all attempts of the media in Greece and internationally to downplay it. It was called by the unions and supported by all the main left parties. Up to half a million people marched and rallied at Syntagma Square, outside the national parliament building. Salonika and other Greek cities and towns and islands like Corfu and Crete also saw huge demonstrations. The Greek media underplayed the scale of the protest but people flowed endlessly out of the metro stations in central Athens becoming a tidal wave of protesters. It seemed that virtually everyone turned out to oppose the latest draconian cuts, the diktats of the Troika and the Greek government voting through more savage cuts. Even metro trains from the richer northern suburbs of Athens were full.