Summer of riots to take over Greece

City A.M. Reporter
GREECE’S opposition Left Coalition party expects public anger over government austerity measures to rise to new heights after the summer and force a snap parliamentary election, its leader said yesterday.

Often blamed by the socialist government for inciting violent protests in May and June, the smallest of five parties in parliament opposes the European Union/International Monetary Fund loan that was secured by announcing austerity moves.

“Those who think the squares will not fill up again in September are deluding themselves,” Left Coalition President Alexis Tsipras said as EU leaders worked on a second bailout for Greece.

“People cannot accept they have no future, no job. They feel despair and rage.”

In almost daily rallies in May and June, thousands of people gathered in Syntagma Square in central Athens to chant slogans against the austerity moves and political corruption. The protests were sometimes violent, and riot police used teargas against black-clad youths.

Protests have eased this month, and many Greeks are now on vacation, but people will return to work in September to even deeper austerity and smaller pay cheques after tax increases.

“When you go from 400,000 unemployed to one million, what do you expect?” Tsipras said. “We warned them the medicine they are prescribing will be worse than the disease.”

He said he expected a snap election within months because heightened public rage would force the ruling socialists to seek a new mandate. Opinion polls show no single party would win outright and a coalition government would be the likely result.

“The prime minister has an obligation to seek national elections," Tsipras said.

“We do not support violence or incite violence. It’s the system that turns violent when it feels the earth shaking beneath its feet.”