Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:0AM
The rally was held on Thursday, the final day of campaigning before the January 25 general elections in Greece.
Opposition leader and head of the Syriza Alexis Tsipras addressed the demonstrators during the Thursday rally, saying, “We are asking for a first chance for Syriza. It might be the last chance for Greece.”
Pointing to the upcoming polls, Tsipras said, “On Monday, national humiliation will be over. We will finish with orders from abroad.” Tsipras was referring to the austerity measures demanded by Greece’s international lenders in return for bailouts.
Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010. It survived, however, on international rescue packages. Athens has received 240 billion euros (USD 330 billion) in international loans in return for the enforcement of eye-watering austerity measures.
The government’s austerity measures include, inter alia, multiple tax increases as well as cuts in pensions and salaries.
Meanwhile, the results of several recent polls indicate increasing levels of support for Syriza, which holds strong opinions against the tough austerity measures adopted by the incumbent government.
Tsipras has said Greece will stay in the eurozone even if his party wins the upcoming elections. Nevertheless, the rising support for Syriza has raised concerns about the consequences of the potential policies the party may adopt if it assumed office.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis have warned that an election victory for Syriza would mean that the cash-strapped country might be forced to exit the eurozone unless the new government manages to reach an agreement with the country’s international creditors.