(Athens, Greece) – Early on Monday morning, the Greek Parliament voted, approving the latest bailout package, despite strikes and massive protests that broke out in the city over the weekend leading up to the vote. Arguing against the austerity measures proposed in the bailout package, the protesters hoped that Parliement would voted against the bailout package. Alex Tsipras, Greece’s Prime Minister, has said that the pension system that is currently in place in Greece wouldn’t be able to survive without the proposed reforms. Parliament, which is made up of 153 members of his coalition voted in support of the bailout in hopes that they will receive additional bailout funds from Greece’s creditors.
On the heels of the Greek Parliament’s vote, finance ministers from throughout the Eurozone will meet to discuss their next move on what to do concerning Greece. Greece’s international creditors have demanded that greater austerity measures should be taken before they would grant further aid to help Greece’s struggling economy.
Weekend protests against the proposed austerity measures started peacefully. However, as the protests grew, riots broke out. Some rioters even began throwing things such as Molotov cocktails at the police who were present on the scene. The police responded by launching tear gas at the crowd, which launched the smoke across Syntagma Square, which is near Parliament. People flocked to Parliament and throughout Syntagma Square to protest change to their retirement benefits, as well as new tax hikes. Many protestors fear that these moves will mark the end of their retirement system. Around 20,000 people protested in the square this Sunday. After the riots broke out, the police were able to restore calm.
Members of the party, Nea Dimokratia, or the ND, do not support these measures. They call for Prime Minister Tsipras to resign, arguing that he wastes time negotiating with Greece’s creditors. They feel that this not only wastes time, but it also leads to even more budget cuts. The leader of the Nea Dimokratia, Kyriakos Mitsotakis says that Tsipras has broken his campaign promises, when he assured people that he wouldn’t cut pensions or raise taxes any further. The ND says that the government chooses to cut pensions and increase taxes without reducing the size of the government. The austerity measures that Parliament voted on are a condition placed on Greece by the international creditors to secure a further 86 Billion Euro in bailout funds.