Athens wakes up from night of rage to dawn of austerity

Greeks find little to celebrate in new deal on debt bailout


The acrid smell of tear gas and charred debris lingered in the vandalised streets of Athens yesterday as clearing operations began and shopkeepers counted their losses after Sunday's five hours of rioting.

Cash dispensers were damaged, traffic lights near the parliament building were out of order and debris remained strewn on the streets, as the city took stock of the damage caused in clashes between the police and rioters protesting against the additional austerity measures approved by Greek politicians on Sunday night.

They agreed to push through the cuts to secure a much-needed €130bn bailout ahead of an upcoming – and, without the aid, unaffordable – bond repayment in March. Eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to meet tomorrow and announce the terms of the new deal. The bloc's economic heavyweight Germany, however, remained cautious even after the vote.

"Now we need to wait and see what comes after the legislation," the German Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Philipp Rösler, said on television. "We have taken one step in the right direction but we are still far from the goal."

But before that, on Sunday night, more than 40 shops were vandalised, half were looted while marble was smashed and ripped out of building façades to use as projectiles against the authorities. A blaze also swept through the ancient Stadiou street as protesters torched stores.

"It was God," said Andreas Triandafillidis, as he attempted to explain how his 90-year-old clothes shop survived the blaze that wrecked neighbouring stores and the cinema nearby. He'll have to pay some €3,000 (£2,500) for the smashed marble. Experience tells him insurance companies are unlikely to cover the cost. They reimbursed only a fifth of the damage he sustained two years ago during a protest that saw the bank next door burn down, killing four people.

Three fire engines remained on the opposite side of the block of Mr Triandafillidis's shop as firemen struggled to put out a blaze that had raged for nearly 12 hours, according to the authorities on site. "This building is close to collapse" said a fireman.

Stunned pedestrians crowded the surrounding streets, while some took pictures of the blackened structures that until Sunday night included a glassware store and a cinema. An association of film lovers planned to stage a vigil yesterday evening in honour of the damaged cinema, which had survived the country's Nazi occupation.

The shoe shop of Panayotis Karaiskos, on the popular Ermou shopping street, was also caught in the mayhem. "We are all counting our losses; at least they didn't burn my shop," the resigned shopkeeper said.

Mr Karaiskos was forced to replace his window display after it was shattered during the protests. "I have to pay around €2,000 to €3,000 to have it replaced ... that's until they break it again."

The head of the Greek Commerce Confederation, Vassilis Korkidis lambasted the state's inability to protect the property. "The city looks bombarded," he said. "Many of the stores are so damaged they will be forced to shut and fire their staff."

Among ordinary people, signs of exasperation over Greece's lagging reforms are increasingly palpable. As politicians from Athens prepared to meet European leaders and lenders, most Greeks continued to question the benefits of the fresh round of austerity measures.

"None of the money from the bailout will go to Greece's survival. The help is to repay the lenders and the markets," said Anastasia Kotsopoulou, a psychologist and the mother of three children. "This money isn't for Greece's survival."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies