Greek protests refuel talks of a Eurozone exit
Greece continues to be a point of conflict for the Eurozone. Last Thursday, Greek police were forced to use tear gas and other crowd control measures to end violent and destructive protests in Athens. Protesters created road blocks and threw petrol bombs. The violence began after a group of approximately 20,000 Greeks marched through Athens in protest of the recently implemented austerity measures.
The most recent debt crisis marks the third time in five years that Greece will require a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. In order to receive the bailout cash and revitalize a struggling government and banking sector, Greece has to adhere to certain austerity measures including massive spending cuts and tax hikes.
The relationship between Greece and its creditors has become tense. Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister and the leader of the Syriza Party, has shown sympathy to protesters. One of Tsipras’ first acts after becoming Prime Minister was to remove the barriers which separate government officials from protesters. The Syriza Party has also encouraged party members to participate in the protests.
Greece has recently been joined in its anti-Eurozone feelings by the United Kingdom and Portugal. Growing dissension between the member countries on economic issues, and the current immigration crisis are putting the European coalition to the test. If Greece continues to be uncooperative with the E.U. over the terms of its bailout, an exit from the trade bloc could become a goal shared by both sides.
Will violence increase in the Greek austerity protests? Should the E.U. consider letting Greece pursue independence? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4