‘In­di­gant’ protest crowd largest yet

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Tens of thou­sands of demon­stra­tors con­verged in and around Syn­tagma Square yes­ter­day for a 12th day of protests against the gov­er­ment’s on­go­ing aus­ter­ity drive.

The crowd in cen­tral Athens was one of the largest since the cam­paign be­gan with the turnout ex­ceed­ing 50,000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to po­lice who were out in force. Fol­low­ing a dip in num­bers at ral­lies to­ward the end of last week, yes­ter­day’s crowd spilled out of Syn­tagma Square and into sur­round­ing streets. It ap­pears that a larger num­ber of Greeks were in­spired to join yes­ter­day’s protest as ral­lies were also tak­ing place in Spain and Por­tu­gal, which have sim­i­lar eco­nomic prob­lems. Greece’s self-pro­fessed “In­dig­nant Cit­i­zens” – mod­eled on a move­ment with the same name that was launched in Spain last month – have pledged to con­tinue their protests un­til the gov­ern­ment re­acts.

A few gov­ern­ment back­benchers have ex­pressed sup­port though most have dis­missed the move­ment as vague and lack­ing direc­tion.

Crit­ics out­side the gov­ern­ment have drawn at­ten­tion to the range of slo­gans on the ban­ners raised by pro­test­ers. Apart from anti-aus­ter­ity slo­gans such as “Take back your mea­sures” and “Greece is not for sale,” other mes­sages rail against racism and de­mand more rights for mi­grants.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the In­dig­nant move­ment say that their uni­fy­ing themes are op­po­si­tion to aus­ter­ity and their in­de­pen­dence from the la­bor unions that usu­ally or­ga­nize protest ral­lies in Greece. On Satur­day, mem­bers of the Com­mu­nist­backed la­bor union PAME or­ga­nized a demon­stra­tion in Athens to protest ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment and on­go­ing aus­ter­ity.

A pro­tester holds up a cook­ing pot and la­dle in front of Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day dur­ing a rally by self-pro­claimed ‘In­dig­nant’ cit­i­zens. The rally was the 12th in a row in a cam­paign em­u­lat­ing the Span­ish ‘Los Indig­na­dos’ ini­tia­tive that led to city squares be­ing oc­cu­pied by pro­test­ers. In Greece, the largest ral­lies have been in Athens and Thes­sa­loniki.

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