ATM withdrawals in Greece are seeing many machines completely emptied of cash, sparking clashes on the streets.
With the public opinion divided on the bailout deal, could the referendum vote become the catalyst that sees Greek people enter into a civil war?
[Note: This was translated from its original German]
Alexis Tsipras has put his country in turmoil.
In Kolonaki Square there were long queues at the ATMs of the National Bank of Greece. The people tried to stock up on cash before it ran out. The bank run, which had begun in the form of transfers to foreign accounts long ago, is now visible in the streets.
From Athens and other parts of Greece there are reports that there are already empty ATMs. The two ATMs in the Greek Parliament were completely emptied, as multiple news agencies reported. There were even long queues at gas stations.
Many Greeks fear that their country is on the way out of the euro and that their money will be converted into the largely worthless drachma.
This fear is not unfounded. The Greek Government have unilaterally terminated Euro negotiations, now must be face the consequences, Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said.
“We fear unrest,” says one Athenian. “At the latest on Monday, there are clashes in the streets.”
Observers report that there are queues at ATMs not only in the affluent areas of Athens but more prominently in the poorer suburbs, where anger at the austerity program is greatest. No one wants to lose their savings.
Even people who consider themselves a leftist, feel Tsipras’ approach isimpossible. “He is a coward,” complains a journalist of an influential Greek newspaper. “Tsipras has can be talked into this strategy by Finance Janis Varoufakis.”
On social networks there have been vocal cotrasts between the euro opponents and Euro-supporters. Dimitris Kammenos of the Anel Party posted on his Facebook page an image of the storage passage of Auschwitz. Above the gate were the words: “We remain in Europe”. His party distanced itself from it.
Frightening was the rather fierce support for Kammenos on Twitter. Radical Euro-opponents compared the austerity program of the Euro-partners with the slavery by the Nazis.
One thing is clear: Greece’s society is deeply divided. And Tsipras’ approach deepened this division yet.