Anti-government protests in debt-stricken Greece have turned violent. Demonstrators clashed with police forces after tear gas was used to disperse protesters. People in central Athens are protesting against new austerity measures to aid the economy.
They formed a human shield around the Greek parliament to prevent lawmakers from debating the issue Wednesday afternoon. Tens of thousands of protesters started to throw stones and firebombs at the police in response to tear gas.
Between 25,000 and 27,000 demonstrators were on the streets of the capital by the middle of the day, police said.
“People in Athens protested very peacefully as they [have done] for more than 70–80 days and what is going now is beyond logic. It is a war with helicopters, with motorbikes, with Molotov [cocktails] and chemical stuff,” journalist Stylianos Chrysostomidis, who was at the scene, told RT.
Protesters are not satisfied with the new measures. They say the money is not going into the country’s economy.
“Everybody in Greece knows that all the money they take, all these billions they go to derivatives, securities of the banks, and they go to the bonds. They don’t come to the real economy of Greece. All the money we take is in order to pay high interest rates. This is robbery. And the problem for the now is that people know that,” Chrysostomidis said.
Economic analyst and international lawyer Nick Skrekas says that Greeks are very disappointed, and many of those who gathered in the streets would like to see new regime in the country.
“They had not been told that the national dept was going up 17 per cent. So other than just the obvious trigger of austerity and a plan to increase taxes, make cuts about 6.5 billion for this year alone and another 22 billion in 2015, plus a fifty billion [euro] privatization program – there is more than enough unhappiness to go around,” Skrekas said. “I think there are many that would like to see a completely new political system with fresh faces, and no one is holding to powerful interests inside and outside the country. There are some parallels which can be drawn with the Arab Spring,” he added.