Greece: Huge march says 'No!' to austerity


Marchers in Athens reject austerity and demands of Greece's creditors, July 3.

"The 'No' rally of this evening was quite simply the biggest political rally since the fall of the dictatorship," SYRIZA activist Stathis Kouvelakis said via Facebook on July 3 of the mass rally to back the SYRIZA government's call for a "No" vote in Greece's July 5 referendum on whether to accept the crippling austerity demanded by the nation's creditors.

"Just amazing in terms of mass and also of its combative and cheerful spirit. Tens of thousand of people, probably near one hundred thousand, with a massive presence of the youth, socially diverse but essentially working-class."

TeleSUR English said, as well as the "No" march, about 12,000 rallied in Athens in favour of accepting the deal, according to police figures.

The article said: "The massive rallies mark the final day of campaigning ahead of Sunday's referendum. The snap vote will ask Greeks whether they want Syriza to accept harsh austerity measures demanded by international creditors.

"Opinion polls suggest the vote will be close, with both the Yes and No camps in a dead heat."

In a last minute appeal to voters, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged Greeks to vote down austerity. He argued the referendum will represent a choice to "live in dignity in Europe".

"Greece is the cradle of civilization," Tsipras told cheering supporters. "We won't allow the technocrats of austerity to rape Europe again, and to take Europe away from us.

"I call upon you to ignore the sirens, the scaremongering, decide for Greece, proud Greece in a democratic Europe."

Tsipras' opposition to austerity was bolstered earlier in the day when reports emerged that European leaders had secretly tried to stop the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from publishing a downbeat analysis of Greece's ability to handle more debt.

Released on July 2, the document suggested Greece would need at least 50 billion euros extra aid over the next three years to avoid financial collapse. Tsipras said the report vindicated his position that more austerity for debt isn't the solution to Greece's economic woes.

"The IMF published a report on Greece's economy which is a great vindication for the Greek government as it confirms the obvious – that Greek debt is not sustainable," he said.

The austerity measures that have come with the bailout packages have caused a humanitarian crisis, while more than 90% of the funds have gone to private banks.

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