(Athens, Greece) – On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, thousands of Greeks gathered at Syntagma Square outside of the Greek Parliament to protest the current government’s handling of the current debt crisis. Despite promises to preserve pensions and end austerity, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his left-led government approved a new wave of austerity measures designed to secure Greece’s third round of bailout funds since 2010. Greece needs this money in order to pay off loans from the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank that are coming due soon. These austerity measures have been a requirement to secure the bailout money.
The general consensus among the protestors is that the government is ill-equipped to handle the massive debt crisis. They’re also upset that Prime Minister Tsipras made promises to end austerity before he and his government were elected again last year and now the people are faced with another wave of austerity. Many protestors even feel as if it is the current government that has caused the debt problem in the first place. However, the international creditors have told Greece that they need to reduce their government spending and find a way to bring more revenue into the government, which is why they have made these austerity measures a requirement for bailout money.
After some debate, the Greek Parliament approved all the austerity measures required of them to secure its third bailout deal. These measures include pension overhauls and tax increases. As a result, Greece is expected to get its first payment next week, totaling 7.5 billion euros. Although the government maintains that they are doing the right thing and that these bailouts have been necessary to secure the economic future of the country, not everyone agrees. The people who protested yesterday in Syntagma Square believe that the government is unable to pull the country out of its current economic situation. Over 5000 people turned up yesterday to protest and the rally remained peaceful.