Greece begins a week of protests with the first on Monday paralysing buses, trams and trains. The seven days of industrial action coincide with a visit from inspectors with the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF – known as the troika. All this, as Greece tries to secure another chunk of money from international lenders in order to avoid defaulting next month.
However the public mood remains angry and some are unwilling to bear any more cuts. Athens resident Katerina Doukeri is fed up:
“I expect nothing from a state that’s contributed nothing to education, health and other areas. It has no right to ask for anything. I have been working in the private sector for 22 years and it’s impossible to ask me for more.”
Pensioner Vassilios Yamas, who also lives in the capital city, said he blamed the government:
“This is all the government’s fault since they signed the international agreement but they didn’t implement any measures until now. Is the only solution taxes, and hitting pensioners and wage earners? This is terrible.”
On Sunday night, police and protesters clashed in Athens. Indignation is growing as speculation about further austerity measures appears in newspapers. Since the Greek government signed the first deal with the EU and IMF a year and a half ago, wages, living standards and working conditions have all decreased. So far, none of these measures has been enough to fix Greece’s debt problem, and prevent a eurozone crisis.