Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday to support their new anti-austerity government which was locked in tough negotiations with eurozone partners in Brussels.
Satellite demonstrations were expected in Brussels, at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and elsewhere in Europe.
Standing in front of parliament, protesters unfurled banners reading “Bankrupt but Free” and “Stop Austerity, Support Greece, Change Europe.”
Greece’s government, led by the radical left-wing SYRIZA party, won power last month on a wave of anger over austerity imposed under a European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout program.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted a picture of the Athens protest, saying: “In the cities of Greece and Europe the people are fighting the negotiation battle, They are our strength.”
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was attending a meeting of his eurozone peers in Brussels to press for a new debt deal and an end to many of the tough reforms required by the bailout deal.
Protesters in Athens singled out German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led demands for Athens to keep promises made by the last conservative-led government under the deal.
“We’re here to support our government’s decision. We are against austerity and the bailout. You can’t live on 500 euros a month. We hate Merkel because Germany is responsible for the crisis here,” said one of the demonstrators, Angela Dimou.
A poll on Tuesday showed 75 percent support in Greece for the government’s stance. However, Greece’s EU partners have shown little sign of meeting the demands from Athens.