‘Our rage will be relentless’: Syriza faces mass strike in Greece ; Prime minister Alexis Tsipras under pressure as services including schools, hospitals, and banks are hit by 24-hour walkout’ from the Guardian
To show their massive objection to the immiseration brought by the creditors, furious union workers in both the public and private sectors aim to #ShutShitDown in Greece. The strike may be limited to Athens; it’s hard to tell so far. [Updated]
“Schools, hospitals, banks, museums, archaeological sites, pharmacies and public services will all be hit by the 24-hour walkout. Flights will also be disrupted, ferries stuck in ports and news broadcasts stopped as staff walk off the job.
“We are expecting a huge turnout,” Petros Constantinou, a prominent member of the anti-capitalist left group Antarsya told the Guardian. “This is a government under dual pressure from creditors above and the people below and our rage will be relentless. It will know no bounds.”
The general strike – the 41st claim unionists since the debt-stricken nation was plunged into crisis and near economic collapse in 2010 – will increase pressure on prime minister Alexis Tsipras, the firebrand who first navigated his Syriza party into power vowing to eradicate austerity.
On Monday eurozone creditors propping up Greece’s moribund economy refused to dispense a €2bn rescue loan citing failure to enforce reforms.”
Wages have fallen by 30%, pensions are disappearing, and the Social Security system is in freefall as taxes and home foreclosures rise; the next demands by creditors to recapitalize the banks to the tune of €10bn will impoverish citizens even further. They are mad as hell, and aim to demonstrate it clearly.
The Guardian is live-blogging the general strike here. Recent update stories:
Protesters have thrown molotov cocktails in Athens, as thousands protest against the ‘vicious cycle’ of austerity in Greece
- Latest: Clashes in Athens
- Protesters: We face a tragic future
- Transport disrupted, shops closed
- Belgium finance minister blasts Syriza for backing strike
- Full story: ‘Our rage will be relentless’
RT is reporting:
“The general strike has seriously disrupted public transport in the country. Dozens of domestic flights have been canceled. Athens’ metro is not running, bus and trolley routes have been considerably reduced and connections between Greece’s multiple islands and mainland has been nearly brought to a halt as public ferries remain tied up in ports.
The strike has left many museums closed, thus damaging the tourist industry. Pupils stayed home today as schools did not open in the absence of teachers.
Some printed media is expected to hit the streets, although online news outlets are not being updated. Pharmacies are closed, too, while in hospitals only emergency teams remain on duty.
Demonstrators protesting further spending cuts and tax hikes have gathered on Athens’ central Syntagma Square. The left-wing labor policy division of the ruling Syriza Party is backing the strike.”
This is perfect:
“It’s wrong to blame the European Central Bank for the austerity misery suffered by bailed-out eurozone members, Mario Draghi claims.
The ECB chief is defending the way events unfolded in Ireland, Greece, Cyprus and beyond, arguing that things would have been even worse without the ‘adjustment programmes’ demanded by creditor.
During his testimony to the European Parliament, Draghi says:
Since 2010, three countries have now successfully completed their programmes, and Ireland is a particularly good example of how such programmes can deliver the necessary adjustment and restore financial stability, economic competitiveness and fiscal sustainability. It has shown that a country which takes strong ownership of its programme can come out of it with robust growth and a more stable financial system, and that eventually employment will also rebound.
There is no doubt that the adjustment process was painful. But we should keep in mind that the adjustment would have caused significantly more hardship in the absence of financial assistance. The programmes had to address excessive macroeconomic imbalances which had accumulated over several years in the run-up to the crisis, often reflecting misguided national economic policies.
As we have said before: don’t blame the fire damage on the fire brigade.”
Mike Bird on Twitter: “Irish MEP flips back Draghi’s phrasing – ‘The ECB wasn’t a firefighter in our crisis. It was one of the arsonists'”
@Birdyword 4 hours ago