Greece Stages Another 24 Hour Strike (Complete With Teargas) As European Officials Arrive To Enhance Austerity: Live Webcam From Constitution Square

Tyler Durden's picture

On the one year anniversary of its first bailout, things in Europe's basket case are getting much worse once again. Even as senior EU and IMF inspectors arrived in Athens on Wednesday to press Greece to shore up its finances, workers walked off the job to protest against austerity-induced recession, culminating in a 24 hour strike which sees both airports and journalists taking a break from hard work. Oddly ironic this: the "bankers" arrive to make austerity even more aggressive (so there is more value left over to senior bondholders when the bankruptcy commences), just as the country experiences a deja vu  moment of strikers on one side and teargas lobbing policemen on the other. Those who wish to follow the protests live, which so far the mainstream media has refused to show, can do so here.

Reuters explains the beyond obvious reason of the IMF's latest visit to Greece:

The review will determine whether Greece will get a fifth aid tranche from the 110 billion euro bailout that saved it from bankruptcy last year and whether Athens should be given improved loan terms or more aid to avoid debt restructuring.

If Greece did not receive the next 12 billion euro tranche, key to pay 13.7 billion euros of immediate funding needs, it would be tantamount to default.

One year into the EU/IMF deal, investors are convinced the debt-choked country's bailout is not enough and Greece will be forced to restructure its debt, imposing losses on private bondholders, unless lenders step in with more funds.

Euro zone officials including German Chancellor Angela Merkel say they will wait for the result of the inspection visit before taking any decisions.

The EU and IMF mission chiefs started their visit on Wednesday with a meeting with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou as hundreds of workers on a 24-hour strike prepared gathering to protest against austerity which unions say is strangling the economy.

Athens was nearly deserted with many shops and public services closed and the officials are likely to have seen posters covering the Greek capital reading: "We can't take it anymore. The rich and the tax evaders should pay."

Vassilis Hatzigiannis, a 31-year-old striking lawyer said: "We've reached a dead-end and the worst still lies ahead of us and our country. This policy is not getting us out of the crisis, without growth we can't move on."

As we have reported before, the market is now expecting a 45%-50% haircut to Greek bonds currently:

Ten-year Greek bonds currently change hands at around 55 percent of their face value, carrying a secondary market yield of 15.696 percent -- little changed on the day, but up more than 3 percent since the start of the year.

On why recessions, austerity and banker bailouts make for an explosive political mix:

The Socialist government has cut salaries and pensions and increased taxes, despite repeated strikes, to meet bailout targets but the measures have plunged the country into a deep recession and crimped tax revenues, hampering efforts to tackle a debt of nearly 150 percent of GDP.

Ministers are now conceding that Greece cannot regain investor trust to go back to the markets for finance in 2012.

"More austerity is probably not good for the economy, because it will deepen the recession and we don't know whether it is going to produce results in terms of fiscal consolidation," said Diego Iscaro from IHS Global Insight. "On the other hand, people will start losing faith in the government strategy."

Yet despite all the "best intentions" of the EU and the IMF, the two biggest Greek unions have decided to pull all their people. Google translated from Zougla.

"Padlock" There is now in the public and private sector, because the 24-hour nationwide strike by two unions GSEE and ADEDY, in response to economic measures affecting government employees and pensioners of the country.

Employees today affirm their opposition to the Memorandum and cuts while flare scenario that the country is heading in new, more rigorous surveillance.

In the strike will be two meetings. That of GSEE-ADEDY Pedion Mars at 11:00 am and go to 10:00 am at Omonia.

The strike involved workers in the public and private sector, employees of SOEs, theemployees of banks, the press and the staff of local authorities.

With security personnel will operate hospitals, health centers, services of IKA, Welfare and the ambulance after the decision of workers to participate in the nationwide strike, claiming to solve economic and institutional demands.

From 6:00 am Wednesday and 24 hours would not broadcast news because of the involvement of journalists in the strike.

Will remain immobilized Wednesday OSE trains and suburban railway trains, and workers involved in the CIU 24 strike.

No trains and suburban trains will remain the country Wednesday.

Work stoppage from 12:00 noon to 16:00 pm have announced that air traffic controllers. This period will not run any flights to and from Greek airports.

Those looking for a live feed from Athens, where festivities escalate in waves, can find one below:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Blue_Balls's picture

Gotta love this vicious circle of strikes, bailouts, austerity, strikes, bailouts, austerity.....

Re-Discovery's picture

I'd hate to be the repo man in that mob (any of these mobs for that matter.)

Heads on pikes come to mind.

pesamystik's picture

You start to realize how weak the system is when a country like Greece can bring down the whole system. It's only 12 milllion people but if there was some sort of revolution there, we would be hitting a major freaking recession across the world. Ridiculous.

ivana's picture

System is inherently corrupt and therefore weak.

oogs66's picture

i don't think it would.  or all it would do is expose the economy for where it is, not where it pretends to be with all the govt money floating around

DogSlime's picture

Indeed.  Makes me wonder how people (not just Greeks) are going to react when the proper financial crisis starts.  If they're freaking out at the appetisers, how are they going to stomach the main course?

bobby02's picture

Dunno. I think the Greeks are playing their cards reasonably well: A little pissant country is holding the whole EU hostage.

On the one hand I don't see how the debt can't not be restructured but on the other hand the cost of keeping Greece on life support might be less than the cost of the added risk premium on non-Greek euro-denminated debt if Greece defaults.

Let the Games begin!

G-R-U-N-T's picture

"You start to realize how weak the system is when a country like Greece can bring down the whole system."

How can you "bring down" a system when the system itself is an unredeemable failure?

Greece is a welfare state with a dependent welfare mind-set. What we are looking at is sickness.

The arrogance involved with the idea that they demand the world pay for their lazy unproductive asses is mind blowing.

What's not being discussed is wealth generation this is tragic.



downwiththebanks's picture

There are no bigger welfare cheats on the face of the earth than the banker-gangsters, yet they somehow emerged unscathed from your attack. Why do you not care that grandmothers all over the world suffer on account of their grand larceny?

Because your bonus from them bought a ton of great blow?

It's so much easier for a banker-gangsters like yourself to attack people who actually do WORK for a living, isn't it, than it is to look in a mirror at your own parasitical existence.

riley martini's picture

 You got that right but he is probably a ditto head or Tea Party member.

TheBillMan's picture

First off.  It is the wealthy Greeks who don't pay their fair share of the taxes.  Kind of like GE here stateside whose effective tax rate is a little over 3% of earnings.  Second, the banksters are salivating at the opportunity of an imploding Greek economy where businesses and land can be bought up at pennies on the dollar (or Euros in this case).  To quote:

"The Socialist government has cut salaries and pensions and increased taxes, despite repeated strikes, to meet bailout targets but the measures have plunged the country into a deep recession and crimped tax revenues, hampering efforts to tackle a debt of nearly 150 percent of GDP."

Gee, you mean to tell me that cutting government spending and raising taxes only implodes the economy further?  Of course it does.  This is right out of the IMF's own playbook and has been used for decades against countries throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa.  Austerity never leads to a recovery because that is not what it is designed to do.  Austerity is designed to send a country's economy down the toilet along with the wealth of the citizenry.  "Investors" (a.k.a. the banksters) can then come back in after the implosion and buy up all of the undervalued businesses, infrastructure, land, and mining rights for pocket change.  The banksters get it all and the little guy is left holding the bag.  This is the main reason for poverty and repressive governments in the the Third World.  The banksters need someone in charge who'll keep the jack boot on the neck of the angry citizenry.  We can't have people demanding justice and other such silly nonsense. 

Google Greg Palast and his articles on the internal IMF documents around this that were leaked to him about 10 years ago.  He also did an interview with Joseph Stigletz, one of their former head economists, who basically told him the same thing.

Sudden Debt's picture




and they only gave them the black ones and not the green once....

revolutions broke out for much less!


DK Delta's picture

There is a famous depiction during the Nazi occupation of Athens where an SS guard was eating olives and as he spit out the pits, young boys would fall all over themselves trying to nab them in attempt to extract whatever nourishment was left. They were starving from the famine.

riley martini's picture

 Propaganda . Did you see the propaganda pieces with the Japan soldiers with Chinese babies stuck on their bayonets.

Josephine29's picture

Thanks for this Tyler. I was just reading a blog post which points out what the European Central Bank has really been doing on its accounts denying the losses it has made on its purchases of Greek bonds.

If we return to my first paragraph above we see that the Euro zone has assumed that there will be no sovereign defaults on its watch and accordingly assumes all government bonds will be repaid. The European Central Bank follows this mantra andso it declares that as it is holding all its government bonds to maturity there will be no losses and accordingly it declares none! Yes the bonds on which it currently has large losses are declared as making no losses at all.


This is not the end of it. The European Central Bank has been able to create money or more strictly liquidity at an interest-rate of 1% and more recently 1.25% to finance all this. Yet these bonds even at the beginning of the crisis were yielding much more than this. Right now if we look at short-dated yields we see 12% in Ireland and Portugal and 25% in Greece and if we think that the ECB has been buying as interest-rates have risen to these levels it can book rather large interest-rate gains.


Hurrah for the ECB in its discovery of a holy grail! You book interest-rate profits and adopt an assumption which allows you to ignore capital losses! The more thoughtful among you may already be spotting a familiarity with the way private-sector banks got themselves into trouble in the run-up to the credit crunch. We are now at the point I made on Monday that European taxpayers are unaware of what is being done with their credit…


The blog post goes on to explain how the losses have also been given back to Greece.


Silverhog's picture

Austerity will never happen. Europe get over it, the money is gone. Greece start printing your own Zimbabwe notes.

kaiten's picture

Austerity doesnt work when your economy is a Ponzi scheme like that of Greece. It did work in baltics, central Europe, scandinavia(in 90s) and elsewhere. Im saying this from from the beggining of this crisis. Greece should be kicked out of both eurozone and EU, they dont belong in there.

downwiththebanks's picture

I love you one can say "it did work" by measuring in 5-second increments.

What a fantastic system - such a long-term view of social development!  

kaiten's picture

Austerity is not a long-term development, it´s a short-term correction. You think Scandinavia has a poor social development?

downwiththebanks's picture

Scandinavia was socially developed before austerity.  In fact, 'Austerity' (i.e., knifing the masses in the back) runs counter to idea of social development, and creating a miniscule time horizon by which to measure success is the only way to 'generate' it.

kaiten's picture

So why wasnt Greece socially developed before austerity? Whose fault is it? Martians? They have 300bn EUR in debts. Should they spent at least third of that on productive investment there would be absolutely no need for austerity. They consumed it all. Sure austerity doesnt work there. When you stop feeding the ponzi, the house of cards fall apart. Now they´re crying for help. Funny, they didnt need help while spending all those billions. Kick them out, cant wait for that to happen.

downwiththebanks's picture

Social development isn't something one has or doesn't have.  That they weren't AS developed before the crash as the Scandinavian nations (all of whom rank near the top of virtually all human development indices) hardly makes them unique in the world.

Moreover, the Greek government got plenty of 'help' spending billions, from the banker-gangsters who rigged the books in order to shovel paper their way.  Furthermore, the CONDITIONS of that money was that it be shipped to offshore bank accounts in the form of bribes or spent on the tourism industry.

Then the banker-gangsters lied about the terms and proceeded to the gambling houses to bet against Greek debt using someone elses money.

kaiten's picture

So why did Greece spend all the loans on consumption, again? I somehow missed your answer. Whose fault is the current situation, again? Missing your answer. What does Greece produce, again? I mean, except of fraud and lies.

Here´s how "competitive" Greece is. List of countries by export per capita (in US dollars, 2009)

10. - Slovenia - 16,640
14. - Slovakia - 14,570
21. - Czech Republic - 10,700
23. - Estonia - 9,820
26. - Hungary -    7,860
28. - Lithuania - 7,250
53. - Greece - 2,425

See, I didnt mention Scandinavia or western Europe there. Only central/eastern european countries. 15 years ago, all of these countries were in MUCH WORSE shape than Greece. But while they spent the time by restructuring their economies, Greece became the beggar and clown of Europe. I can only hope that Germany grows some balls and kick this failed country out of EU and eurozone. And then, they can moaning, demonstrating and looking for excuses as much as they want.

Sudden Debt's picture


Only 62% of all greeks work for the government.

It's still good! It's still good! Just a little bit of green slime, but it's still good! AAAAaaaarrrhhhhHHhh!!!


Robslob's picture

Me thinks the banking cartel was there inspecting their new and wholly owned property!

Re-Discovery's picture

Just try kicking the Greeks out of it. 

Maybe they rent everything to the Turks?  Their economy is doing well.  Every red-blooded Turkish man would love to have a Greek boy servant in his home.

topcallingtroll's picture

That is the true middle eastern love which dare not speak its name!

Hedgetard55's picture

Those Greeks look pretty healthy to me. My guess is there is a thriving black market for everything, the protests are for show.

downwiththebanks's picture

How they 'look' from your point of observation really matters, doesn't it!

cossack55's picture

Only when viewed thru a 12 x 40 Leupold.

DK Delta's picture

There is a thriving black market, but the protests are definitely not for show. The black market is the only thing saving Greece right now, but things are the worst in Athens. The countryside will survive.

sabra1's picture

i'm feta up with all these greek jokes!

Catullus's picture

Greek haiku time:

The flash crash is coming back.
greeks are on the streets again
Sell gold? You're a schmuck.

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

They should bring out the tanks allready.

cossack55's picture

The bankstas, of course.  Nothing more demonstrative than a banksta taking a 120 smoothbore shot to the chest.

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

No need to aim, just plow these surfs down.  They have no choice but to pay for the bankers.  100% tax and all non vital organ forced donations next.

Re-Discovery's picture

Serfs.  Tough to do when the serfs are driving the tanks.

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

Good point, unknown variable there

cossack55's picture

Yes, there is a choice. Pro-death, Kill the fucking bankstas or except slavery. If the correct answer isn't clear, buy some kneepads.

lizzy36's picture

These bailouts, are not going to help the greek people. They help the french/german banks.

Save the funds. Use them for a Euro styler TARP, post 50% haircuts in restructing greece, portugal, and Ireland. Got it done quickly.

Of course that would take chutzpah and honesty. There is NO Central Bankers school for those qualities.

cossack55's picture

Cool. If you pick a chat name Zh comments show up on their board with all the funny writing.