Thousands of people gathered outside parliament in Athens on Monday night expressing their support for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to run a referendum on the proposals made by the international lenders. Demonstrators urged Greeks to vote ‘‘NO’‘ on Sunday’s poll putting an end to painful austerity measures.
The mood of defiance was everywhere – banners read, “Our lives do not belong to the lenders” and others said, “Don’t back down”. But the reality is that Greece looks as if it will default on its 1.6 billion euro loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday’s deadline.
And that could lead to the country being forced out of the eurozone.
Our reporter Nikoletta Kritikou spoke to some who had come to support the government.
“We have to say a big No to the institutions. Their proposals cannot be applied. This government was not elected to take on such austerity measures,” said one woman.
While another supporter gave a heartfelt call for Greece to be allowed to regain its dignity:
“Over the last five years the loan programmes have brought about absolute poverty in the country. Young people are forced to go abroad to find a job. Our country’s wealth has been sold off. It’s time we take our future in our own hands.”