Protesters and riot police came to loggerheads in Greece on Thursday, as tensions rose over the economic situation in the country.
It’s a sight many fear will become increasingly common, as workers gear up to battle threatened austerity cuts.
The measures would be a pre-condition for an emergency loan package expected over the next few days, aimed at rescuing Greece’s economy.
European officials believe they are essential to reduce the country’s massive debt, but many Greeks say they will just hurt workers and retired pensioners.
“The government must find ways to obtain the funds and also treat people properly,” one man said.
“My salary is 1,100 Euros,” one woman said. “They’ve already cut it over the past few months. If they also cut my bonuses, how will I live? How can someone live on 1000 Euros? My rent is 500 alone.”
The European Central Bank President has called for a support package that stops the debt crisis spreading to other countries in the region.
“A strong and credible programme negotiated between the Commission, the ECB, the IMF and the Greek government,” Jean-Claude Trichet said. “Second, the support I have mentioned that will avoid the materialisation of financial risk for the euro area. And, third, a giant step forward in our own framework of surveillance.”
But with agency Standard and Poor’s decision to downgrade its credit ratings for Portugal and Spain, it may already be too late.