Angry Greeks, fed up after six years of austerity, are taking to the streets once again. But this time it is against a former ally in their fight against Greece’s international creditors. The country’s embattled left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, is facing his first 24-hour strike in office.
In a symbolic move to show that things had changed, one of Tsipras’s first acts on becoming prime minister in January was to remove the crowd-control barriers in front of parliament designed to protect MPs from protestors. Now even his own party’s workers’ committee has called on members to take action and participate in Thursday’s protest.
After a break-up of negotiations with the country’s European creditors earlier this summer that almost led to an exit from the euro, a so-called Grexit, a contentious Greek referendum, a third 86 billion euro. ($92 billion) bailout, and fresh snap elections, further austerity measures are required to release much-needed funds to keep the Greek economy afloat.
Earlier this week, euro zone finance ministers denied Greece a 2 billion euro payment, the first tranche of a third foreign aid package.
Even though the new Greek parliament had passed its first austerity bill, which involved stricter pension and tax evasion rules, and revoked farmers’ tax breaks, the government has been reluctant to touch the more sensitive issue of home foreclosures — a key prerequisite to release any aid.