May Day in Greece tomorrow - A prediction
The Greek government is the process of negotiating an austerity package with the EU and the IMF. The details of which will be announced on Sunday. The choice of day is not a random detail but rather reflects the likely effect of the cuts in public services, wages and jobs on public opinion that are almost certainly part of the deal.
As tomorrow is first of May the country will be holding a series of marches to mark the event. Usually it is marked peacefully and more with a sense of ceremony that any burning revolutionary drive, a secular holiday, especially for those on the Left.
However, tomorrow promises to be different as popular anger over the massive cuts in income and living standards that are likely to be seen in the next few years is looking for an outlet,
Trade unions, public sector workers, members of oppoisition parties plus any number of ordinary citizens will be in the streets on Saturday outraged by the fact that the present political system has brought the country to this impasse
As well as sense of palable rage the government has also added to this explosive mix by giving free rein to the security forces in maintaining of public order. Acutely aware of the fact that the eyes of the financial world are focused on Greece at the moment they are going to try everything in their power to prevent a repeat of the events of December 2008 when the killing of a 15 year old by a police officer sparked off a wave of riots and protests that engulfed Athens and other Greek cities for a month.
On the other hand the riot police, known as the MAT in Greek, are notorious for their lack of discipline and indiscriminate use of both the baton and tear gas, a fact that is likely to inflame matters producing the kinds of images prime minister, Giorgos Papandreou so dearly wishes to avoid.