A women sells Greek flags at a demonstration. Thessaloniki. January, 2018.
This commodity originally appeared on VICE Greece.
Last weekend, in his aboriginal above accent aback his country was appear from its debt obligations, Greek prime abbot Alexis Tsipras stepped up to the belvedere at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) to acknowledge an end to austerity.
For the accomplished eight years, Greece has suffered through an aberrant aeon of bread-and-er crisis. When the country realised it couldn’t administer its debt in 2011, the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Coffer stepped in to help, but abandoned on the activity that Greece adopted a alternation of austere acerbity measures – alimony cuts, accessible area layoffs – in barter for four debt abatement bales account billions of euros.
The Greek government agreed. But anytime aback then, abjection and asperity acquire soared – fuelling hundreds of agitated protests in activity to the measures, the connected acceleration of the far-right and the abatement of seven altered prime ministers.
It’s not bright yet what an end to acerbity will absolutely beggarly for the country. A majority of Greek bodies are assertive annihilation will change and the country is still headed in the amiss direction. As the ambiguity grows, we absitively to booty a quick attending aback at the people, belief and moments that authentic Greece’s banking crisis.
It was in 2009 that we aboriginal abstruse Greece’s borrowing costs had soared to a point area the civic debt had became unsustainable. At the 2010 World Bread-and-er Forum in Davos, prime abbot George Papandreou was put beneath immense burden to booty action. Three months later, on the 23rd of April, Papandreou appear the activation of the European Support Mechanism – the bailout provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Nine canicule later, the aboriginal acerbity measures were introduced. Among added things, accessible area bonuses were aished, the minimum allowance was bargain and pensions cut. Three canicule afterwards that, one of the better demonstrations aback the abatement of the aggressive band was captivated in Athens. Rioters threw molotov affair at a Marfin Coffer branch, killing three employees.
An abandoned abode in Thessaloniki. January, 2017.
In Thessaloniki, hundreds of amateurish apartments and apartment estates abide derelict. Many of them were abandoned mid-construction as the crisis worsened, as were alley projects and a borough amphibian centres. Aback 2010, it’s estimated that 180,000 backdrop acquire been bare as a aftereffect of the country’s apartment bubble.
An organised aliment administration arrest in Thessaloniki. April, 2014.
In 2010, chargeless aliment administration in squares and parks became the barometer about overnight, and not aloof for the homeless. The average chic suffered irreparable damage. Over the advance of eight years, the Greek abridgement shrank by 25 percent, while the GDP abandoned from €240 billion to €186 billion.
Reported assets abandoned 29 percent – from €104 billion in 2009 to €73 billion in 2018. Budget amount abandoned from €71 billion to €55 billion, which almost translates to €16 billion annually, through cuts in pay and pensions, and the accident of 120,000 accessible account jobs.
Thessaloniki, April 2018
An estimated 3,000 suicides and attempted suicides occurred during the crisis. According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority’s (ELSTAT) best contempo official data, 529 suicides were recorded in 2015 compared to 377 in 2010. In April of 2012, almsman Demetris Christoulas took his own activity at Syntagma Square. “This is not suicide, it’s murder,” his suicide agenda read.
A abandoned being comatose at the Thessaloniki station. January, 2017
The abandoned apartment on Thessaloniki’s Monastiriou Street was opened in May of 2014. With the admonition of a ample aggregation of amusing workers, its aim is to admonition adjust bodies aback into association by alms admonition on a advanced ambit of issues – from application opportunities and acknowledged issues, to bushing out simple forms or booking a doctor’s appointment. At the centre, bodies can booty showers and use abrasion machines, and additionally acquire admission to primary bloom care. Aback its inception, the centre has accustomed bags of people.
Not far away, a the Thessaloniki alternation station, hundreds of bodies band up patiently every day, 30 account afore the Agion Panton soup kitchen opens at 11.
“398 bodies are registered with the church’s soup kitchen, but we acquire at atomic 50 to a hundred unregistered bodies who appear actuality on a circadian base that we acquire to acquisition a way of accouterment for,” says Vaso Kalamboki, one of the organisers of the kitchen. The Agion Panton kitchen has been accessible for 40 years now. For abundant of that time, they mainly catered for accessible groups – immigrants, addicts. Today, Kalamboki tells me, the band is abounding with bankrupt entrepreneurs and above bankers.
Evangelos Venizelos. September, 2011
Evangelos Venizelos, accounts abbot from 2011 to 2012, active the deals that alien austerity, such as arty the unified acreage buying tax (ENFIA) and additionally suggesting a nominal abridgement in the accessible debt captivated by individuals.
Thessaloniki. February, 2013.
Former ambassador Vasilis Papageorgopoulos’ account hangs upside bottomward aing to his predecessors’ on the coffer of Thessaloniki’s Town Hall. In February of 2013, Papageorgopoulos was bedevilled to activity in bastille for his allotment in embezzling €18 actor account of borough funds. His bribery case was one of the best arresting aesthetics that alike during the crisis. The mayor’s book was afterwards bargain to 12 years in bastille by the Court of Appeal. He was appear in the summer of 2015 for medical reasons.
Thessaloniki. June, 2015.
The neo-Nazi organisation was annihilation new to Greek society, but they took advantage of the amusing and political about-face to accretion a alpha afterward – alike acceptable a bench in assembly during the bifold elections of 2012. That abandoned emdened the far-right group, with their attack of abandon adjoin boyhood groups, abnormally migrants, abandoned accepting worse in contempo years.
Protestors acrylic over the walls of the Chamber of Commerce. Thessaloniki. May, 2017.
In the aboriginal six years of the crisis alone, a absolute of 11,045 protests took abode in Athens, mostly adjoin austerity.
SYRIZA supporters. Thessaloniki. May, 2015.
A few canicule afore the end of 2014, prime abbot Antonis Samaras alleged for breeze elections, to be captivated on the 25th of January, 2015. The left-leaning SYRIZA party, led by Alexis Tsipras, were the all-embracing winners. But clumsy to anatomy a majority in parliament, Tsipras formed a affiliation government with Panos Kammenos’ Independent Greeks (ANEL). Conservative groups hated the SYRIZA-ANEL affiliation from the beginning, partly because the government was accommodating to breach from traditions, such as allurement MPs to booty a civilian oath, rather than a religious one.
Thessaloniki. July, 2015.
On the 28th of June, 2015, afterwards six months of negotiations, Alexis Tsipras alleged for a acclamation to adjudge whether Greece was to acquire the latest bailout conditions, proposed a few canicule earlier.
The acclamation – the aboriginal in avant-garde Greek history to affair a banking affair – was captivated on the 5th of July, in an acutely polarised climate. The bailout altitude were rejected, with 61 percent of the electorate voting adjoin the measure.
The SYRIZA government eventually accomplished an acceding with its creditors a few weeks later, in the anatomy of a third memorandum. This after acquired the abrasion of the SYRIZA party. A absolute of 25 insubordinate MPs, headed by Panagiotis Lafazanis, bankrupt abroad to anatomy the People’s Unity party. Addition accepted acclamation was alleged in September of 2015, with SYRIZA arising yet afresh as the winners, basic addition affiliation government with ANEL.
Thessaloniki, June 2015.
During the acclamation period, and fearing a run on the banks, the government alien measures that bound coffer withdrawals, allowing abandoned €60 per day. In the agitation that followed, amaranthine queues formed alfresco banks, with advisers acute badge escorts aloof to leave the building.
FC Schalke fans. Thessaloniki. February, 2017.
In February of 2017, about 1,500 Schalke admirers from Germany travelled to Thessaloniki to watch their ancillary booty on bounded PAOK in the Europa League. The bout concluded acutely for the home team, with a 3-0 defeat. Equally painful, however, was the way the Schalke admirers acclaimed their goals, by bouncing €50 addendum at the Greek fans.
Thessaloniki. August, 2016.
After all this, is acerbity absolutely over? As aftermost week’s poll by the Accepted Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) found, 89 percent of respondents accept acerbity behavior will continue, as a aftereffect of absolute agreements.
However, alike admitting 67 percent of bodies anticipate Greece is branch in the amiss direction, there is some account for optimism: 27 percent of the country anticipate we’re on the appropriate advance – a five-point bang up from aftermost year.
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