As thousands of striking protesters gathered in Athens on Tuesday to join a peaceful rally to demonstrate against austerity measures, hundreds hijacked the peace by clashing with police in an outbreak of violent. Protesters vented their anger against German domination by burning the German flag and a flag with a swastika, as they chanted "Nazis Out." Police used pepper spray against the protesters that resorted to violence.
Greece is in the grip of another 24 hour strike as Greek leaders negotiate further austerity measures with the Troika. Greece has been told it must make an additional 3.2 billion euros of cuts in order to receive the bail out loans due in March, Bloomberg
As the government tabled plans for the minimum wage of 751 euros per month to be slashed, Vangelis Moutafis of the GSEE union declared "This is a crime against the nation. They are driving wage-earners into absolute poverty. They are wiping out the unemployed and retired people ... They are selling off the state for nothing. This must not continue. It's a crime and it must be stopped now" Athens News
Resentment has been growing at apparent German domination of Greece. A German proposal to deprive Greece of her budgetary sovereignty
was widely condemned by other European Union member nations. Further fuel was added to the fire when German Chancellor Angela Merkel then suggested, along with French President Nikolas Sarkozy, that a separate fund should be created which would ensure Greece prioritized its debt repayment over any other expenditure.
A lead headline
across the Greek press this week reads "Germans want Greece to quit euro". The issue of unpaid German war reparations
from the invasion and occupation of Germany during the Second World War has moved from being a kafenion talking point to an issue to be tabled in parliament. Too often the impression that Germany projects is that it rules Europe, rather than being just one of a number of member states. The cumulative effect is to breed resentment amongst the proud Greek people who are tired of bearing the brunt of German criticism, in addition to paying the price for their leaders incompetence in sorting out the financial crisis.
Tuesday's editorial in Ekathimerini
sums up the frustration felt by Greeks, "subjected to mutually exclusive and conflicting panaceas concocted by weak leaders and irresponsible technocrats." The violence outside Athens Parliament is not represented across the country but the resentment of German domination. Awareness that the 300 lawmakers who represent Greece are more interested in protecting their own political interests in readiness for the coming elections, rather than working on a viable solution to end the country's misery, is shared across Greece.