Yesterday there were protests in cities across Europe in solidarity with the people of Greece. Here are reports from some of them.
Around 150 people attended the London demonstration, outside the German Embassy, organised by the Greek Solidarity Campaign. The mood was subdued, with a series of speeches to a static crowd. People were collecting for the Medical Aid for Greece fund. A number of speeches and banners emphasised the way brutal austerity can create a breeding ground for the far-right.
In Florence, around 45 people assembled for a static protest in solidarity with Greece, as part of the worldwide #ThisIsACoup protest movement. Mindful of the 38 degree heat, the mood was cheerful and very relaxed.
The event had been coordinated by Una Città in Commune Firenze, a grassroots Florence community group, originally formed in 2011 in protest against water privatisations.
Placards proclaimed “difendiamo la democrazia” (we defend democracy), “No al ricatto della finanza’’ (no financial blackmail) and called for an end to austerity.
There seemed little indication however, of an attempt to link the Greek struggle against austerity to the Italian situation. Where other cities in Europe proclaimed “we are Greece’’, this sentiment was absent in Florence. But with youth unemployment running at over 40%, and Renzi continuing with public spending cuts including highly unpopular reforms to teachers’ working practices, Italy and Greece share many economic similarities.
The Edinburgh protest was small, with about 30 – called by Real Democracy Now (Greece). A previous and much larger demo had been called by SYRIZA who weren’t present today, although this was partly because a number of leading members are in Greece at the moment.
The demonstration in Barcelona was much smaller than local activists expected, with about 150 people.
In Portugal there were demonstrations in Lisbon and Porto. There were under 100 at the Portugal demonstration. This was organised by Solidariedade Grécia (Greece Solidarity), which consists mostly of people from the Bloco de Esquerda party (Left Bloc).
People seem confused by the situation. The Left Bloc has always been very close to SYRIZA and Tsipras, so may be uncertain what to do now, which may explain why fewer people turned up than expected.