Man! What a year this has been.
Following in the footsteps of the people of Egypt, Syria, Libya, and England earlier this year, and the people of Italy as recently as last weekend, the people of Greece have taken to the street to actively fight government bulls***.
And the government bulls*** continued.
Greek lawmakers narrowly passed a package of austerity measures Thursday, as second day of strikes and violent protests over the package convulsed the country and further weakened the ruling Socialist party.
In a final vote late Thursday, Greece’s Parliament approved the measures by a vote of 154 in favor and 144 against. But the vote came at a cost to the Socialist government, which saw its slender parliamentary majority narrowed further after expelling a rebel lawmaker for not toeing the party line.
The vote came as tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Parliament building to denounce the austerity program, coinciding with a second day of a 48-hour general strike that paralyzed public services across the country.
The protests were marred by violence when hundreds of self-styled anarchist youths clashed with demonstrators from Greece’s Communist-led Pame union, leading to running street battles around the city’s main Syntagma Square.
Riot police then entered the square to halt the fight. There were more than 70 injuries and a 53-year-old union protester with a previous history of heart problems died from a heart attack after inhaling tear gas fired by police during the demonstration, a hospital official said.
Under pressure from its international creditors, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, Greece’s government this month cobbled together the latest austerity measures to narrow the budget deficit this year and next.
The legislation would further cut public-sector jobs and wages, slash pensions for high-income earners, curtail collective-bargaining rights for workers and enact new taxes, among other things.
What is it gonna take for these lawmakers to understand just how fed up poor people are and to decide to do something about it?