Calm has returned at least temporarily to the streets of Athens the day after the latest protests against the government’s austerity measures. But another general strike is planned next week. Yesterday’s protest - the second in a week -grounded flights, closed schools and hospitals, and paralysed public transport.
The government says it understands people’s anger over tax rises and wage cuts but it’s refusing to back down. From some people on Friday morning there was a sense that the protests were achieving little.
“There’s been no result whatsoever”, said Yannis. “We can’t say there will be. I’m a pensioner, I demonstrated yesterday and will do again, but I don’t see anything happening.”
Katarina believes the protests are futile: “Nothing’s going to happen by going out onto the streets demonstrating,” she said. “It’s unnecessary.”
There were twenty thousand protesters in Athens yesterday according to police; the organisers put the number much higher. Under pressure from the EU, the Greek government’s second savings plan announced last week is designed to slash the country’s massive public deficit. But unions say it will hit the poor hardest and damage the economy further.