Oct. 19 2011
ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of rioting youths smashed and looted stores in central Athens on Wednesday during a big anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures that erupted into violence.
Outside parliament, demonstrators hurled chunks of marble and gasoline bombs at riot police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police said at least 14 officers were hospitalized with injuries. At least three journalists covering the demonstrations sustained minor injuries.
The violence spread across the city centre, as at least 100,000 people marched through the Greek capital on the first day of a two-day general strike that unions described as the largest protest in years.
Police and rioters held running battles through the narrow streets of central Athens, as thick black smoke billowed from burning trash and bus-stops.
Wednesday’s strike, which grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down shops and schools, came before a parliamentary vote late Thursday on new tax increases and spending cuts.
International creditors have demanded the reforms before they give Greece its next infusion of cash. Greece says it will run out of money in a month without the C8 billion ($11 billion) bailout money from its partners that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund.
Most of the protesters who converged in central Athens marched peacefully, but crowds outside of parliament clashed with police who tried to disperse them with repeated rounds of tear gas. A gasoline bomb set fire to a presidential guard sentry post at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Parliament, while running clashes broke out in several side streets near the legislature and the capital’s main Syntagma Square.
Nearby, groups of hooded, masked protesters tore chunks of marble off building fronts with hammers and crowbars and smashed windows and bank signs. Scuffles also broke out among rioters and demonstrators trying to prevent youths from destroying storefronts and banks along the march route.
Vendors sold swimming goggles to rioters, who used them to ward off the tear gas.
Thousands of people watched the skirmishes, some standing on kiosk roofs to get a better view. Trash was strewn around the streets, and some protesters set clumps of it on fire.
In Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, protesters smashed the facades of about 10 shops that defied the strike and remained open, as well as five banks and cash machines. Police fired tear gas and threw stun grenades.
All sectors — from dentists, hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, pharmacists, teachers and dock workers — walked off the job before a parliamentary vote Thursday on new austerity measures which include new taxes and the suspension of tens of thousands of civil servants.
Flights were grounded in the morning but some resumed at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their strike plan from 48 hours to 12. Dozens of domestic and international flights were still cancelled. Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged work stoppages but kept buses, trolleys and the Athens subway system running to help protesters.
In Parliament, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told lawmakers that Greeks had no choice but to accept the hardship.
“We have to explain to all these indignant people who see their lives changing that what the country is experiencing is not the worst stage of the crisis,” he said. “It is an anguished and necessary effort to avoid the ultimate, deepest and harshest level of the crisis. The difference between a difficult situation and a catastrophe is immense.”
About 3,000 police deployed in central Athens, shutting down two subway stations near parliament as protest marches began. Protesters banged drums and chanted slogans against the government and Greece’s international creditors who have pressured the country to push through rounds of tax hikes and spending cuts.
“We just can’t take it any more. There is desperation, anger and bitterness,” said Nikos Anastasopoulos, head of a workers’ union for an Athens municipality.
Other municipal workers said they had no option but to take to the streets.
“We can’t make ends meet for our families,” said protester Eleni Voulieri. “We’ve lost our salaries, we’ve lost everything and we’re in danger of losing our jobs.”
Demonstrations during a similar 48-hour strike in June left the centre of Athens convulsed by violence as rioters clashed with police on both days while deputies voted on another austerity package inside Parliament.
Piles of garbage festered on Athens street corners despite Tuesday’s government order to garbage crews to end their 17-day strike. Earlier in the week, private crews removed some trash from along the planned demonstration routes, but mounds remained on side streets, along some of the march routes and in city neighbourhoods.
Protesting civil servants have also staged rounds of sit-ins at government buildings, with some, including the Finance Ministry, under occupation for days.
Most stores in the city centre, including bakeries and kiosks were shut Wednesday. Several shop owners said they had received threats that their stores would be smashed if they attempted to open.
The measures to be voted on come after more than a year and a half of repeated spending cuts and tax increases. They include new tax hikes, further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants and the suspension of collective labour contracts.
A communist party-backed union has vowed to encircle Parliament Thursday in an attempt to prevent deputies from entering the building for the vote.
The reforms have been so unpopular that even some lawmakers from the governing Socialists have indicated they might vote against them.
Meanwhile, European countries are trying to work out a broad solution to the continent’s deepening debt crisis, before a weekend summit in Brussels. It became clear earlier this year that the initial bailout for Greece was not working as well as had been hoped, and European leaders agreed on a second, C109 billion ($151 billion) bailout. But key details of that rescue fund, including the participation of the private sector, remain to be worked out. Source
EU raids banks amid suspicions they colluded
Oct. 19, 2011
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union’s competition watchdog said Wednesday it conducted unannounced inspections at several banks amid suspicions they may have colluded to manipulate euro interest rate derivatives.
The European Commission said it is looking into a possible cartel by companies active in the sector of derivatives linked to the Euro Interbank Offered Rate — a key interest-rate benchmark.
The Commission said the raids started on Tuesday, but didn’t name the firms whose premises it inspected.
There are trillions of euros in derivatives whose value is based on developments in the Euribor and they make up a significant slice of the profitable business of derivatives trading, which has grown exponentially in recent years.
The Euribor is set by a group of 44 banks and is based on the interest rates they charge for lending to other financial institutions.
Inspections, during which investigators collect documents that could aid their case, are an early step in EU competition probes and happen before the Commission starts an in-depth investigation into suspected cartels and other violations of EU competition law.
The inspections are another sign that competition watchdogs are stepping up their scrutiny of the financial sector as a result of the 2008 credit crunch and the European debt crisis.
Press reports earlier this year said that the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission were looking into suspected manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is a benchmark rate similar to the Euribor but used much more widely.
Earlier this year, the European Commission also opened an investigation into practices of some of the world’s largest banks in the market for credit default swaps, derivatives that act as a sort of insurance against default.Source
The US should be investigating their own banks including the Federal Reserve.
They lead to the downfall of Greece.
The International Monetary Fund is basically run by the US and other rich countries. It is a horrid creature that should be eliminated as should the World Bank. Both are nothing more then a dictatorship that imposed massive hardship on countries. The IMF Can Only Bring Misery.
For six decades, the World Bank and IMF have imposed policies, programs, and projects that:
- Decimate women’s rights and devastate their lives, their families, and their communities;
- Subjugate democratic governance and accountability to corporate profits and investment portfolios;
- Trap countries in a cycle of indebtedness and economic domination;
- Force governments to privatize essential services;
- Put profits before peoples’ rights and needs;
- Abet the devastation of the environment in the name of development and profit;
- Institutionalize the domination of the wealthy over the impoverished – the new form of colonialism; and
- Facilitate corporate agendas through the economic re-structuring of countries enduring conflict and occupation, such as East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Check out what they do in Africa.
If the US can’t get you with the IMF, World Bank or Free Trade Agreements — they send in the CIA.
One way or the other they will make your lives miserable and even kill you to get what they want. They even start wars to get what they want.
One has to wonder how many problems are still created by the CIA in other countries. They can cause financial chaos to other countries as well. They manipulate elections in other countries and invent anything to overturn governments they do not like.
One has to wonder if those Masked folks in Greece that stir up violence, may be associated with the CIA. The US does not like Socialism. That is one of their tactics they use often.
This fellow has a number of Videos that can be watched I recommend them all so you can get some insight into what the CIA is really like. They have not changed over the years only now everything they do is kept secret and always chalked up to National Security so no one can find out what they are up to. Do take the time to watch as many of the Video with John in them. Then maybe you will understand just how the US destroys other countries.
John Stockwell – CIA’s War on Humans
Feb 13, 2008
John R. Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving in the Agency for thirteen years serving seven tours of duty. After managing U.S. involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies, a book which remains the only detailed, insider’s account of a major CIA “covert action.”
Some things never change
This explains how they did many things as well, They had a lot of help from Israel in their horrific deeds against innocent people as well.
So look at the world around us today and you will notice nothing has changed only gotten worse and the US is still starting wars. They still interfere with other Governments. They still topple Governments they don’t like. Now they have more weapons like the IMF, World Bank, Free Trade, WTO etc.
I could bet a few dollars they have everything to do with the problems in Greece and many other EU countries deep in debt. Wars are also driving countries deep in debt.
Greek lawmakers vote in favour of new austerity bill
Oct. 20 2011
ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers have passed a deeply resented austerity bill that has led to violent protests on the streets of Athens, despite some dissent from one Socialist lawmaker.
The new measures include pay and staff cuts in the civil service as well as pension cuts and tax hikes for all Greeks. The bill passed by majority vote in the 300-member parliament.
Former Labor Minister Louka Katseli voted against one article that scales back collective labour bargaining rights. She voted in favour of the overall bill, but Prime Minister George Papandreou expelled her from the party’s parliamentary group. The move whittles down his parliamentary majority to 153.
The vote came after violent demonstrations that left one person dead and 74 injured. Source