As Greece Votes, Country’s Finance Minister Accuses Europe of ‘Terrorism’

A worker assembles a voting booth in Athens. (Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg)
A worker assembles a voting booth in Athens. (Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg)

Greece’s outspoken finance minister on Saturday accused the country’s European creditors of “terrorism,” saying they hope to scare Greek voters into defying their own government in a critical Sunday referendum.

“What they’re doing with Greece has a name: terrorism,” Varoufakis told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in an interview published Saturday. “Why have they forced us to close the banks? To frighten people. And when it’s about spreading terror, that is known as terrorism.”

The publication of Varoufakis’s comments came as campaigning for the Sunday vote ground to a halt, with both sides observing a legally required day of quiet before millions of Greeks head to the polls.

On Friday night, central Athens was consumed by dueling rallies of tens of thousands of people apiece, with demonstrators making their final push in a campaign that has passionately divided this flailing nation between those fearful Greece will lose its place in Europe and others determined to transform the continent at all costs.

With Greece’s 19th-century Olympic stadium as a backdrop, “yes” supporters shouted their contempt for the government and demanded an end to the brinkmanship that has characterized the country’s relationship with Europe for the past five months.

Across town, in the shadow of the neo­classical Parliament building, those siding with Greece’s leaders in urging a “no” vote on European bailout proposals swayed to the tunes of revolutionary anthems and pledged not to bend to creditors’ “blackmail.”

“Here in the place where democracy was born,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told an energized crowd that stretched for blocks in every direction, “we will start to rebuild European democracy.”

Varoufakis told El Mundo that he did not believe Greece’s creditors were serious about kicking the country out of the euro. “It’s too much money and I don’t believe Europe could allow it,” he said, estimating the toll for the continent at a trillion euros.

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SOURCE: Griff Witte and Michael Birnbaum 
The Washington Post

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