Greece accuses lenders of terrorism as referendum splits country
Greece’s Finance Minister accused international creditors of “terrorism” in an interview on Saturday, a day before Greeks vote in a referendum that could decide their country’s fate in the euro common currency.
“What they are doing to Greece has a name: terrorism,” Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, was quoted as saying.
It stated that the government implemented capital controls and ordered banks shuttered on Monday in an effort to prevent the collapse of the financial system following a breakdown in talks between Athens and its lenders.
The country, which is rapidly running out of money, missed a 1.7 billion dollar loan payment that was due to the International Monetary Fund on June 30.
According to the statement, the same day the existing bailout programme from European partners expired.
Greeks will go to the polls on Sunday in a referendum on a new bailout proposal that had been put forward by lenders in June.
It is widely seen as a vote on whether the country should stay in the Eurozone but the Greek government led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is urging a “no” vote.
Greeks should overcome fear and blackmail by sending a message of democracy when they vote, Tsipras said in a rally on Friday.
Opinion surveys show Greeks about evenly split on how they will vote.
Both sides held big protests in Athens on Friday evening, with an estimated 20,000 people at the “yes” demonstration and roughly the same number at a nearby rally for a “no” vote.
Scattered clashes took place between police and young protestors ahead of the “no” protest and cops used pepper spray to deter demonstrators from throwing rocks and smashing property in front of the parliament building, according to reports.
Voters are being asked to give their verdict on a draft financial rescue the Greek government has rejected, and Europe has allowed to lapse.
But the referendum is about much more than that.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is urging Greeks to vote “no” to strengthen his hand in talks with creditors. He wants a bigger bailout with less painful terms, and a chunk of debt canceled.
European leaders say a “no” vote would destroy the basis for talks, and put Greece on a fast-track out of the euro. The damage tothe country would be huge.
A “yes” vote, however, could allow negotiations to resume, but Europe and the International Monetary Fund may demand even tougher conditions for more cash.
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