‘The People Will Not Be Blackmailed’: Thousands March in Athens Against Austerity

Reprinted with permission. 

(Common Dreams) – Throngs flocked to Athens on Sunday to call on the ruling Syriza party to stand up to international creditors and reject further austerity measures.

In the second mass demonstration this week alone, thousands of protesters chanted “No to the euro” and “The people will not be blackmailed.”

“We’re here to show there are a lot of us,” protester Katherina Sergidou, a member of Syriza, told The Irish Times. “A big window has opened–a window of change.”

“I believe we have the power to build a society here in Greece where, even without a lot of money, we have our dignity,” Sergidou added.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the ruling Syriza party is slated to meet with heads of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund on Monday.

The emergency meeting falls ahead of the Tuesday deadline for a massive payment to the IMF.

Greece’s lenders have sought to impose stringent austerity measures in exchange for relief funds. But protesters Thursday urged Syriza officials, elected on an anti-austerity pledge, to reject more cuts.

Meanwhile, some within the Syriza Party are openly questioning whether a Greek Exit from the Eurozone, or Grexit, is preferable to the terms of the country’s creditors.