Protests In Greece Haven't Slowed Course Of Austerity

The anti-austerity protests in Greece were relatively small, reflecting the frustration that two and a half years of demonstrations haven't changed the course of austerity.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: And I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

KAKISSIS: The crowd walked slowly and chanted mechanically as if they knew the script by heart. Don't be afraid, a man shouted through a megaphone, we will defeat them. But for veteran protesters like Vangelis Stephanou, it all felt like a rote exercise.

VANGELIS STEPHANOU: It's been like a parade, more or less, in the last few weeks. Things are more or less expected. You go in, and at some point, some of the unions go out. And then the police come, and the whole thing is dispersed in the end of the day. That's that.

KAKISSIS: Stephanou has been to hundreds of anti-austerity protests since 2010, some of them violent. Today's was small and quiet, only about 5,000 people showed up, a fraction of the usual size.

And more than two years of demonstrations haven't changed the course of austerity, says protester Natalia Klossa. Instead, she says, the painful spending cuts just keep coming, deepening the recession and driving up the unemployment rate to more than 25 percent.

NATALIA KLOSSA: (Foreign language spoken)

KAKISSIS: I'm beginning to think that blood needs to be spilled for anything to actually change, she says. I don't want that to happen. But the problems we face are so big that we can't keep tackling them with the same old methods. For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.