Cleaning up is underway in Athens after at least 70,000 people took to the streets in protest against the latest austerity measures approved by the government on Thursday. Wednesday’s demonstration drew over 100,000 people.
A general strike across both days paralysed public services, and another is being planned for next week. Support could be even higher, as workers are clearly unhappy.
Pensioner Dimitris Dousgos said he thought the measures are meant help foreign businesses make money: “The Europeans – Germans, Dutch and French – are planning to make us like the Balkans, like Bulgaria and Romania. They are reducing our wages so they can bring their companies here and have us working for them for nothing,” he said.
“Everything looks extremely bleak. They are cutting our pensions. There is rubbish everywhere. Nobody gives a toss about us. There’s no government, there is nothing. We are utterly desperate,” said despondent housewife, Armelina Kolla.
More cuts to public sector jobs and salaries, slashed pensions and new taxes are all part of the latest austerity package, as the government tries to reduce the budget deficit this year and next.