Twenty-seven-year old Michalis Sarantis is one of a growing number of young people in Greece dubbed “Generation 700”: those aged between 25 and 35 who earn around 700 euros a month – barely enough to live, according to Michalis, who still lives with his mother.
He says the riots are the result of deep social frustration: “The murder of the 15-year-old was the straw that broke the camel’s back, because we all face huge problems trying to survive on a daily basis. We can’t manage, and rage, anger and anxiety build up inside. And this totally illogical incident, the killing of a 15-year old by a policeman who should be protecting the public, it’s broken something inside us, it’s broken down our resistance,” he said.
He also voices pessimism about the future for young people: “When unemployment for young people now in Greece is 25 percent, how can you hope for something when the only sure thing is that you will not find the job you want?”
A quarter of 15 to 24-year olds are unemployed in Greece, which has the highest rate of low-paid workers in the European Union. Only half of university graduates find work, and many people in a job are forced to take another to make ends meet.