Sunday 12 February 2012

Athens Burning (Again)

Athens is burning once again on the eve of the latest austerity vote. Organised gangs of anarchists and hooligans, many of them likely belonging to the extreme left, have attacked over 20 buildings in the centre of Athens, setting several of them on fire. The Municipality was attacked but was saved. Several other historical and neoclassical buildings are on fire. Several retail stores, including at least one Starbuck’s, have been trashed.

Needless to say, these events have been condemned by all political parties, with the possible exception of SYRIZA, who claimed this was actually a "provocation" by ultra right-wing elements. What is certain is that this violence has nothing to do with the vast majority of citizens and residents of Greece. 

The Greek Parliament continues its debate on the new austerity package prior to voting later tonight. Most observers, including myself, believe that the bill will pass with at least 175-180 votes.

The Prime Minister, Loukas Papademos, is expected to restructure the cabinet tomorrow to replace the departed Ministers of LAOS as well as potentially several other ones.

Assuming the bill passes, the government will have a nearly impossible task of meeting its own deadlines for some elements in the new package. 

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