Greece rocked by riots as up to 60,000 people take to streets…

Posted: 03/14/2010 by Lynn Dartez in 2011

By MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE
Last updated at 5:15 PM on 11th March 2010

Street clashes broke out between rioting youths and police in central Athens today as tens of thousands demonstrated during a nationwide strike against the cash-strapped government.

Hundreds of masked and hooded youths punched and kicked motorcycle police, knocking several off their bikes, as police responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades.

The violence spread after the end of the march to a nearby square, where police faced off with stone-throwing anarchists and suffocating clouds of tear gas sent patrons scurrying from open-air cafes.

Police say 16 suspected rioters were detained and two officers were injured.

Greek riots

Stand off: Greek police dodge petrol bombs hurled by rioters on the streets of Athens as protests against new measures to boost the economy turn violent

Greek riots

Up close: A flaming bottle flies towards a has-masked police officer who steps back to avoid being hit

Rioters used sledge hammers to smash the glass fronts of more than a dozen shops, banks, jewelers and a cinema.

Youths also set fire to rubbish bins and a car, smashed bus stops, and chopped blocks off marble balustrades and building facades to use as projectiles.

Organisers said some 60,000 people took part in the protest. But an unofficial police estimate set the crowd at around 20,000 – including those that took part in a separate, peaceful march earlier Thursday.

Police do not issue official crowd estimates for demonstrations.

Thursday’s strike – the second in a week – brought the country to a virtual standstill, grounding all flights and bringing public transport to a halt.

Greek riots

Chaos: A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister as the 24 hour general strike turns ugly

Greek riots

Blockade: Strikers estimate up to 60,000 people had taken to the streets

State hospitals were left with emergency staff only and all news broadcasts were suspended as workers walked off the job for 24 hours to protest spending cuts and tax hikes designed to tackle the country’s debt crisis.

Riot police made heavy use of tear gas during the start-and-stop clashes throughout the demonstration, including outside Parliament.

Strikers and protesters banged drums and chanted slogans such as ‘no sacrifice for plutocracy,’ and ‘real jobs, higher pay.’

People draped banners from apartment buildings reading: ‘No more sacrifices, war against war.

The demonstrators included hundreds of black-clad anarchists in crash helmets and ski masks, who repeatedly taunted and attacked riot police with stones and petrol bombs, at one point spraying officers with brown paint.

Greek riots

Extreme measures: Masked rioters set fire to a car during the demonstration

Greek riotsForce: Hundreds of police were deployed during the protests

Shopkeepers along the demonstration route hastily rolled down their shutters, while a few blocks away, people sat at outdoor restaurants, nonchalantly continuing their meals.

Tear gas wafted through the city center’s streets, sending businessmen in suits scurrying for cover, their eyes streaming.

Minor clashes also broke out in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where about 14,000 people marched through the center.

Fears of a Greek default have undermined the euro for all 16 countries that share it, putting the Greek government under intense European Union pressure to quickly show fiscal improvement.

It has announced a raft of savings through public sector salary cuts, hiring and pension freezes and consumer tax hikes to deal with its ballooning deficit, but the measures have led to a new wave of labor discontent.

The cutbacks, added to a previous austerity plan, seek to reduce the country’s budget deficit from 12.7 percent of annual output to 8.7 percent this year. The long-term target is to bring overspending below the EU ceiling of 3 percent of GDP in 2012.

The new plan sparked a wave of strikes and protests from labour unions whose reaction to the initial austerity measures had been muted.

Greek riotsViolence: Baton-wielding riot police clash with demonstrators in Athens

Greek riots

Target: A rioter sets fire to entrance of a hoteis

Thursday’s strike shut down all public services and schools, leaving ferries tied up at port and suspending all news broadcasts for the day.

However, some private bank branches were open despite calls from the bank employees’ union to participate in the strike.

While their colleagues clashed with groups of protesters, some police joined the demonstration.

About 200 uniformed police, coast guard and fire brigade officers, who cannot go on strike but can hold protests, gathered at a square in the center of the city shortly before the marches got under way.

‘The police and other security forces have been particularly hard hit by the new measures because our salaries are very low,’ said Yiannis Fanariotis, general secretary of one police association.

Joining the protest ‘doesn’t feel strange, because we are working people like everybody else and we are all shouting out for our rights,’ he said.

The government says the tough cuts are its only way to dig Greece out of a crisis that has hammered the common European currency and alarmed international markets – inflating the loan-dependent country’s borrowing costs.

But unions say ordinary Greeks are being called to pay a disproportionate price for past fiscal mismanagement.

‘They are trying to make workers pay the price for this crisis,’ said Yiannis Panagopoulos, leader of Greece’s largest union, the GSEE.

‘These measures will not be effective and will throw the economy into deep freeze.’

A general strike last Friday was marred by violence during a large protest march. Riot police used tear gas and baton charges against rock-throwing protesters, who smashed banks and storefronts, while left-wing protesters roughed up Panagopoulos as he was addressing a rally.

The labour unrest could spark fears that the government will have trouble in implementing its new measures.

Greece insists it doesn’t need a bailout, and its European partners are reluctant to fund one.

But it has called for European and international support for its program, saying that unless it receives that support and the cost for it to borrow on the market falls, it might have to appeal to the International Monetary Fund for help.

On Wednesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Pangalos said Greece could bypass the costly process of borrowing from edgy markets by urging international institutions to buy its bonds at a set interest rate.

‘We want, if there is an unjustified speculative attack against Greek bonds, to know that one of these institutions that have the substantial means to absorb such market products will come and say “look here,

I am buying Greek bonds at this price, with this interest rate,”‘ Pangalos told private Mega TV.

He did not say which institutions he was referring to, or elaborate on the interest rate.

Markets think some kind of rescue would be organised if default looms. Speculation has focused on possible guarantees for Greek bonds or help from state-owned banks in other eurozone countries.

——–

Glenn has repeatedly told us that what is happening in Greece is going to happen here in America. Our annual deficit increase, percentage-wise, is about the same as Greece, and we have unions, which, while they are not as prevalent and powerful as those in Greece, they are growing fast, thanks government spending. That said, it doesn’t take that many people to shut things down and make it unsafe to go to the store and get things, to drive around town for any reason.

Hopefully we have more than months; I hope we have years to prepare for such things, and perhaps to even avoid it. But considering what has happened in one year, doesn’t it make sense to prepare? Remember how before the beginning of the Obama administration, Glenn Beck said that a year from now, we wouldn’t recognize our country?

Well, do you recognize it? The paradigm has already shifted, and will continue to do so; and it isn’t about to stop. I pray we still have enough time, but we never know what tomorrow brings.

Please, start buying extra food which stores well, like canned soup, vegetables, fruits, meat (like chicken breast and/or roast beef), etc. Just buy a little more than you need, if you can’t afford much, and start storing it like our grandparents and great-grandparents did in their cellars during the Great Depression. Don’t forget to rotate your cans (open the oldest cans first) so you don’t waste any of it. And try to stock up on things you like, so you know you’ll eat it.

If you can afford a little bit more, please consider the company Glenn recommends, which I personally chose for my family’s beyond-the-pantry food storage (it’s better than any other we’ve tried):


468x60_Peace_of_Mind

Also don’t forget to store up on clothes you’ll need if things break down, whether it’s because the Dollar is taken down, or worse. If you have children, buy the next size they’ll need in shoes, pants, shirts, etc. Just use common sense. If you can do a bit more, please do it. If not, try to prepare so that ASAP, you will be able to. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

It never hurts to start “buying ahead.” If you can afford to buy the next FEW sizes, then it might be a good idea. We never know when the dollar will be taken down, just as George Soros & co. began to do to the Euro the end of last month.

Just remember, that if you can’t afford blocks of gold or several gold coins (over $1,100/oz. recently), the things you’ll NEED to buy anyway MAY BE the best place to put your cash. The spending our government is engaging in is absolutely unsustainable. Someday in the not-too-distant future, we may have need of those things which we normally go to the store for, because either they’ll be too expensive, or the shelves will be bare.

Are you ready for that?

Doesn’t it make sense to prepare, now, when it’s relatively painless?

“If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear.”


——–

Now back to Greece: just remember that while we have much to be hopeful, and it looks like we might have enough time to avoid this sort of thing, we MUST STOP OBAMACARE! Remember, 2/3 of ObamaCare passed in Stimulus Package, so NO LEGISLATION SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PASS THAT IS LONGER THAN THE CONSTITUTION! THEY CAN HIDE THE REST IN ANY BILL!

If you haven’t yet called and/or shown up at the closest office(s) of your Representative & Senators, now is the time! Here is their contact information:

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