Monday, February 13, 2012

Athens Is Burning: Civil Unrest Returns to Greece with Tough New Austerity Measures

Civil unrest and rioting has returned to the Greek capital of Athens after the country's government voted in favor of tough new austerity measures designed to keep the Mediterranean nation from defaulting on its staggering national debt and bringing about the possible collapse of the European Union. The proposed new bail-out of over €200 billion brought out hundreds of thousands of angry protestors, already suffering under worsening economic conditions since a similar bail-out was voted through only last year.

Angry mobs clashed with riot police throughout Athens and beyond, as protestors lobbed rocks and Molotov cocktails and chunks of marble from buildings and statues . Officials says that over 50 buildings within the Athens city limits have been burned to the ground and many public monuments have been defaced in the worst civil unrest seen in Greece since last summer, that saw hundreds of buildings set ablaze.

The clashes broke out at around 6PM local time as tens of thousands of angry citizens, responding to calls from unions, streamed into Athen's Syntagma Square facing the country's Parliament. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos appealed for calm amid the unrest, warning that Greece cannot weather riots " at these crucial times. Vandalism and destruction have no place in a democracy and will not be tolerated," he added.

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