Pensioners swarmed outside banks across Athens eary on 1 July, to claim the €120 (£85) of their pensions they are allowed to claim this week. Some 1,000 banks opened across the country as part of an emergency measure to hand out pensions.
On Kotzia square in Athens, more than 50 pensioners of all ages were scrambling to get into the National Bank of Greece. “We’re scared; we don’t know what tomorrow will bring with this government,” said Dora, who was waiting outside to get her entrance coupon.
Initially authorities had said that the handout would take place alphabetically but at the last minute the system changed to the use of entrance coupons.
People passed in and out and, by the afternoon, the crowds had dispersed but the anger remained. “They make me look like a beggar,” said Dimitrios Katakis, 69, a former insurer. His pension, which includes an auxiliary pension, stands at €1,520 but the state will only pay out €120 according to pensioners, well below the €420 weekly ATM withdrawal limit.
While the Greek government’s plans are not clear, if the banks don’t open on 7 July Mr Katakis is set to only get a third of his pension from the state this month.
“And with this they expect me to give them the prize of a ‘No’? I know things wouldn’t go well with the Syriza administration but didn’t expect it to happen so abruptly.”Reuse content