European Left takes to streets for Greece, against austerity

February 17, 2015
People gather in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity and pro-government demonstration in Athens, February 15.

Thousands of citizens in Athens, Rome, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Lisbon, Vienna, Madrid, London and many other cities in Europe, as well as the United States and Australia, have taken to the streets in solidarity with the Greek people who are living a humanitarian crisis. Three weeks ago, the Greek people voted to put an end to the austerity policies imposed by the Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union).

The Party of the European Left (EL) called for a European week of mobilization from 11 to 17 February, in one of the key moments of the negotiations to restructuring the Greek debt, in order to show the popular pressure against the decision reached by the Eurogroup. It is a question of solidarity but also a vindication of the rules changing imposed by the European Central Bank and the Troika.

On February 14, during a demonstration held in Paris, EL president Pierre Laurent said that instead of issuing an ultimatum, what the European Commission had to do was to negotiate with the Greek government.

EL vice-president Maite Mola, who took part in all the mobilisations carried out in Brussels, insisted that we must respect the sovereignty of peoples when they vote. Mola added that "the left has to work together having as common goal the end of the predatory capitalism and the solution should be European".

In Italy, more than 20,000 people were convened by the Italian left and the trade union CGIL.

The support campaign continued on February 17, after the previous day's ultimatum of the Eurogroup. Laurent, along with Mola and the president of German party Die Linke (The Left) Bernd Riexinger, gave a press conference in Berlin in which they reinforced the support to the first European government confronting the ultra-neoliberal politics of the Troika.

The largest demonstrations of the past week took place in Greece where, according to the surveys published by the press, 78% of Greeks have supported their government and how it is dealing with Brussels against austerity policies.

Moreover, according to polls, if elections were repeated today, Syriza would win with a 45.4% of the votes and secure a majority with 186 seats out of the 300 of the Hellenic Parliament.

[Reprinted from the Party of the European Left's website. The EL is a political party at the European level that is made up of 26 members parties (including Syriza) and seven observer parties. See details of a national speaking tour of Green Left correspondent Dick Nichols, an eyewitness to SYRIZA's historic win, taking place in cities across Australia during February and March.]

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