Greeks woke up on Wednesday morning faced with the news that next year’s austerity budget has been approved by parliament.
For months the country has been relying on billions of euros in rescue loans from other euro zone members and the International Monetary Fund. Pensions have been cut and salaries reduced.
“I don’t see anything good,” said one man, “and I don’t believe anything any more. They’re all fairy tales. I’m utterly disappointed.”
Another added: “People don’t have any money. People have no money. And when people don’t have money nothing works and shops close.”
The budget was passed by parliament with 258 votes out of 300 – a large majority. It foresees a fourth year of recession but also predicts a small surplus if debt payments are excluded.
Outside the building the news was greeted with the by-now-familiar response of protesters clashing with riot police. Youths hurled rocks and petrol bombs at police who responded with batons and tear gas.