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Fighting the Greek meltdown


On May 11, thousands of angry Greek workers, students - and even pensioners - will again take to the streets to protest the government's response to the economic crisis. They say they shouldn't be made to pay for the mistakes of their government – past or present. Many of them think the government was wrong to borrow money which ties it to carry out strict austerity measures. While Wednesday's protest coincides with a national strike, those unhappy with the deep public spending cuts are diversifying their methods in an attempt to make officials "sit up and listen". 

It's the crack of dawn at a toll booth station outside Athens. We are waiting for our contacts to arrive, activists from the Den Plirono, or "Don't Pay" group. Their bus pulls up and they get off – 40 of them, highly visible in bright yellow vests and carrying flags, and highly audible with loudspeakers and whistles. They swamp the toll booths, remove the barriers and simply wave passing vehicles through, saving each driver 3.05 euros on their journey.

Toll charges, like many public services, have risen sharply as the government tries to recoup revenue. The activists told us their actions were symbolic of a wider demand for free public services. One Den Plirono activist, Electra Bravaco, said: "The government is against us and we want to change that and change many other things. We are every day in the road, there are many people who fight for this, simple people that want to change this situation."

The Den Plirono struggle is a collective one, and their membership, already in the thousands, is increasing daily.

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