Greece cannot catch a break. On Thursday, in Athens, after Greece announced more spending cuts that would be a condition of the next bailout, thousands of citizens took to the streets in a general strike of the austerity measures. However, this was not a friendly strike. Protestors were seen throwing petrol bombs at the police, who responded with tear gas. According to the BBC, this was a relatively tame and peaceful protest by Greece’s standards.
This new strike is in addition to the ongoing strike involving judges. For the last month, Greek courts have been at a standstill due to a lack of judges to try cases and grant motions. This is in response to serious cuts in pay that judges have been facing. Some have lost up to 38 percent of their wages.
One major problem with judges going on strike is the backlog in the court system that it creates. For example, two video game designers were arrested for photographing military installations of the island of Limnos. Although these pictures could be useful to the game that they are developing, the designers claim that they were merely vacationing and that the buildings are freely viewable in public places. They were arrested on September 9th and, due to the strike, have been held in custody ever since. It is unlikely that this is an isolated incident.
Austerity measures within the next few years are mandatory if Greece expects to receive more bailout money. They need to raise 12 billion euros, which will not be easy for the struggling country. The BBC reports that they are about a month away from running out of money. Moreover, they are in the middle of a five year recession and their public sector is notoriously bloated. This is also the twentieth time that there was a general stoppage of labor in Greece within the last two years.
Should Greek workers keep striking? Does the government have other options than massive spending cuts?