Greek riots escalate as parliament passes austerity plan
The Greek parliament in the early hours of Monday voted its approval of a harsh new austerity plan in exchange for new loans from foreign lenders. The vote was not even close, with 199 members of parliament voting in favor, 74 against, and 27 abstaining.
The two major parties in the ruling coalition announced after the vote that they had each expelled about 20 of their own MP’s for refusing to support the plan.
News of the passage of the plan further intensified the violence on the streets of Athens, where at least 80,000 people had turned out to set fires and throw missiles at police, as well as in other major cities.
The Occupied London webpage called it “the long night,” writing that “tens of banks and other buildings are burning across Athens after today’s demonstrations. There are huge riots in Thessaloniki and Patra as well. The situation seems to be spiralling out of control.”
Events noted by the Occupied London blogger as occurring in Athens prior to the vote included the looting of a gun shop, the burning of a bank to the ground, attacks on police, and an attempt to invade a police station. In the city of Volos, a tax office was stormed and documents destroyed, and in Corfu the offices of the local Socialist Party MP’s were destroyed.
Protesters occupying a law school in Athens issued a statement saying, “We call all the people to take to the streets, to keep on fighting! Nothing has ended, everything begins now.”
“Greece and its foreign lenders are locked in a dangerous brinkmanship over the future of the nation and the euro,” the New York Times reported. “Until recently a Greek default and exit from the euro zone was seen as unthinkable. Now, though experts say that the European Union is not prepared for a default and does not want one, the dynamic has shifted from trying to save Greece to trying to contain the damage if it turns out to be unsalvageable.”
This video uploaded to YouTube by Russia Today, February 12, 2012.