Thousands of protesters rallied at short notice outside the Greek parliament in
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it would stop accepting Greek government bonds as collateral for loans to Greek banks.
Private investors are taking billions out of Greek banks. Ordinary people, who fear they will be left to bear the cost, are withdrawing money too. The ECB decision adds to this bank run.
It follows an announcement by finance minister Yanis Varoufakis that
The Troika is hated for enforcing austerity to pay for bailing out the banks.
Radical left party Syriza was elected last month to stand up to it. Many of its voters are furious that
Teacher Stavroula Drakopoulou said she was protesting because, “We have nothing to lose, that’s why we’re defending the government.”
Despite kicking out the Troika, Syriza has pursued talks with the institutions behind it. Varoufakis has offered creditors a “frenzy of reasonableness”.
Yet they continue to take a hard line. This could force Syriza to choose between staying in the eurozone and keeping its election promises.
Some in the establishment wish the ECB and EU could co-opt Syriza. Southwest Securities investment firm boss Mark Grant said, “I think this is a real act of vengeance by the ECB and the EU and that’s a shame.”
But those at the top of those institutions realise that if
Protests took place in other Greek and European cities including
This is despite Varoufakis offering a “debt swap” that would see
Many Syriza supporters see it differently. Protester Dimitra Spyridopoulou said, “The decision by the ECB demonstrates the pressure on
It is in the interests of every worker that the bankers are defeated—and that Thursday’s protests are the first of many.