Scores of left-wing hardliners riot in Athens as PM agrees to new bailout terms

Many of Alexis Tsipras supporters feel that the charismatic young leader has gone back on his pre-election promises

Rioters threw petrol bombs and vandalised cars on Thursday night in Athens as left-wing supporters vented their anger over the newly elected government’s perceived capitulation to Brussels.

Approximately 450 people took part in the first anti-government march in Greece since the election of a coalition government, headed by radical left-wing party Syriza, took office.

Video capturing the scenes shows roughly 50 protesters throwing what appear to be Molotov cocktails, burning cars and vandalising the streets of Athens as police – in riot gear – attempt to contain them.

Left-wing hardliners have been angered by Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras agreement with EU and IMF partners to extend the 240 billion-euro bailout programme to the bankrupt nation.

Mr Tsipras, who only a month ago was promising enraptured supporters that half of the Greek debt would be written off and that the country was “finished with orders from abroad”, now faces a very different climate.

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Even members of his party Syriza have expressed some doubts about the latest agreement.

The new Greek leader has been forced to weaken on his demands for a reduction in debt, pledges to reverse privatisation and anti-austerity promises.

 

But he has gained a lower budget surplus for the year – allowing him to divert vital resources to helping those on, or below, the bottom line – and a number of semantic victories, such as removal of the hated words “bailout” and “troika” to “loan” and “institutions”.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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