Both private and public sector trade unions are staging a general strike in Greece, the latter for 48 hours, to protest against the government’s austerity plans.
It is against the backdrop of a black wednesday for the euro, hit by financial worries the Greek crisis may spread to other EU economies. Whereas only some 4000 took to the streets yesterday, 20,000 plus are demonstrating today.
In Athens shops are closed and public transport has been severely disrupted. Hospitals are working with skeleton staff. Ferry services to the Greek islands are at a standstill. The hardening mood is a reflection that many feel ordinary people are being made to pay the price for the crisis while rampant tax evasion and corruption goes unchecked.
“This package will not help Greeks. This package of measures is not going to save Greece from bankruptcy, it’s to help capital and industrialists to accumulate greater profits,” said Nikos Ksirafis, from the Piraeus worker’s centre.
International markets are following the events closely, as fierce public opposition could weaken the government’s implementation of the austerity plan.