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Greece to default on IMF loan on Tuesday as banks close and panic buying begins

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By Euronews
Greece to default on IMF loan on Tuesday as banks close and panic buying begins

Greeks stood around outside shuttered banks as a new week began during which Tuesday’s IMF payment of 1.6 billion euros won’t be paid, and by next Sunday’s end may see the Greeks reject the EU’s deal and crash out of the eurozone. the banks will stay closed until after Sunday’s vote, and cash machines have a 60 euro withdrawal limit, although tourists are unaffected.

That would be the likely result of a “No” vote in the referendum, and the government has put that box to tick above the “Yes” box, a reversal of tradition.

“They can’t just keep my money. Today I had to take my pension out. How can I buy anything? Nothing is for free so how I can buy what I need?” sad one elderly lady.

“I think people have been more terrified than they should be. This situation will last some days but after things will go well. But people are queuing in gas stations and in supermarkets without reason. We have been to the supermarket and some people buy things like there is a war,” complained one woman.

Of more immediate concerns than the default are the closed banks, and now petrol stations running on empty. If the panic buying gets worse, basic essentials could soon be in short supply.

“Many things depend on how easily companies will be able pay employees’ salaries. We hope for an agreement. Things are really hard,” said one man.

“The fact is that the creditors want to strangle us. They put pressure on us. How much time we can resist will be crucial,” said a pensioner.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is on record as wanting “a “No” vote”;, but while Britain’s George Osborne maintains “most” people see the referendum as a vote on staying in the euro, that is not how most Greeks see it. Most want to continue to use the single currency.

“Greeks have to decide on the future of their country in conditions of deep uncertainty. Until now there’s been little tension. The government insists that there are enough fuel supplies. But some people are worried, and they are queuing for fuel,” says euronews’ Michalis Arampatzoglou .