Burn Baby Burn…Greeks on rampage
Unfortunately, this sort of reaction might become the norm as people push back against the banking oligarchy. Something the leaders will not do, talk about complicity!
I am hopeful that here in the U.S. we are able to avoid such violence and rely instead on civil disobedience. To do this effectively we must be organized and organized very well. Our elected officials are counting on us to never get organized.
If you have a great idea, form a meet up group. Email us and we will try to get it out.
Greek Protests Leave 3 Dead, Buildings Burning (Update1)
By Maria Petrakis and Natalie Weeks
May 5 (Bloomberg) — Greek demonstrations against government austerity measures turned deadly when three people were killed after protesters set fire to a bank in central Athens.
Fire officials at the scene said they discovered three bodies in the building, according to a fire-department statement sent by text message today. The building, located near the Greek parliament, housed a branch of Marfin Egnatia Bank SA. At least three more buildings were set on fire and 30 fire trucks and 80 firefighters battled the blazes, fire officials said.
Marfin spokesman Serapheim Konstantinidis said that the bank was trying to identify the three victims and couldn’t confirm whether they were employees. A bank worker who escaped the blaze said the fire spread very quickly and it was hard to tell how it started.
Today’s general strike, the third this year, follows Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s announcement of a second set of wage cuts for public workers, a three-year freeze on pensions and a second increase this year in sales taxes and the price of fuel, alcohol and tobacco in return for a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Trade union groups have called the austerity measures “savage.”
“These measures are unjust and should be paid for by those politicians over the past 30 years who have led us here,” said Barbara Tzerbou, 37, a lawyer who traveled to central Athens with her brother to participate in her first-ever protest. Papandreou “had choices; we didn’t need to get as far as the IMF,” she said.
Tensions escalated as marchers approached the Parliament building where they clashed with helmeted riot police, throwing sticks and stones and chanting slogans before being repulsed. Police shot tear gas at other protesters who lobbed rocks and set trashcans on fire at the central bank building near the parliament.
A group of self-styled anarchists, many with their heads wrapped in black scarves, broke off from the main march and started attacking buildings and starting fires.
The news of the fatal turn in the Greek protests extended declines in stocks and bonds today. The country’s benchmark ASE Index declined 5 percent, bringing the year-to-date drop to 25 percent, the largest in the euro region. The yield premium investors demand to buy Greek 10-year bonds over comparable German debt, reached 699 basis points.
“The demonstrations in Athens are another factor that must be scaring off, turning the mood of credit markets even more against Athens,” Nobel prize-winning economist Edmund Phelps said in an interview on Bloomberg Television before the violence broke out.
Elected in October on pledges to raise wages for public workers and step up stimulus spending, Papandreou revised up the 2009 budget deficit to more than 12 percent of gross domestic product, four times the EU limit, and twice the previous government’s estimate. EU officials revised the deficit further on April 22, to 13.6 percent of GDP.
The surge in the budget gap as the economy contracted fueled investor concern about Greece’s ability to finance the deficit and sent borrowing costs to the highest since before the start of the euro in 1999. Papandreou has pledged to lower the shortfall to within the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP in 2014.
With reductions in wages and increases in taxes, the Greek economy is forecast to shrink 4 percent this year and 2.6 percent in 2011. Unemployment has risen to 11.3 percent, a six- year high.
Unions and some employer and industry groups argue that Papandreou’s terms are designed solely to make savings for the budget rather than setting the bases for growth and fear they will drive the country deeper into a recession, hurting any chances of recovery.
To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at email@example.comNatalie Weeks in Athens firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: May 5, 2010 09:38 EDT
Again, form a meet up and send out invitations. Post your idea on your facebook get some feedback. Start today!