A crippling general strike and street protests by hundreds of thousands of Greeks marked the second anniversary of the eurozone debt crisis on Thursday.
For the prime minister, Lucas Papademos, who is facing his first test since his interim administration assumed power less than a month ago, the mass demonstrations were unusually peaceful and, therefore, a huge success: in a nation used to street violence, not a single shot was fired as riot police refrained from lobbing tear gas into the crowds and stone-throwing anarchists stayed away.
But beneath the apparent calm the anger was still palpable. Trade unionists representing civil servants and private-sector workers said that Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB), should expect "sustained battle" against cutbacks that are widely seen as unfair. Hit by a barrage of tax increases and salary cuts, poorer Greeks have seen their purchasing power slashed by up to 70% since the crisis erupted.
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