The spectre of austerity is haunting the birthplace of Western democracy.
There is a spectre haunting Europe – the spectre of austerity. Across the continent this summer people have been protesting against cuts in their salaries and rising unemployment.
Nowhere has this anger been expressed more deeply or more freely than in the birthplace of Western democracy – Greece.
Strikes and demonstrations are not unusual in Greece – almost every week there is industrial action by one sector or another. But the country has not seen anything on this scale since the toppling of the dictatorship 35 years ago.
Athens’ regular demonstrations have taken on a ritualised nature – part theatre, part comedy. The workers march and make their voices heard in front of the national parliament. There is a face-off. If rocks are thrown by the protestors, tear-gas is used by the police and then everyone goes home.
But not on May 5. As Greece’s MPs debated how deep to cut, workers stormed the parliament. Buildings were set on fire and three people were burned to death.
The Rageh Omaar Report investigates a Greek tragedy.
This episode of The Rageh Omaar Report aired from Wednesday, August 18, 2010.