Greek workers protest against budget cuts in the city of Thessaloniki, September 8, 2012.
The leader of the Syriza opposition party in Greece has slammed the country’s international bailout, pledging to use every endeavor to avert the government’s new round of austerity measures.
Alexis Tsipras said in a speech in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Saturday that he would mobilize Syriza lawmakers and supporters against the new measures Athens is negotiating with international lenders.
“The time to stop the catastrophe is now. These measures must not pass. They will deliver the final blow to the people,” Tsipras said.
The 38-year-old leftist reaffirmed his party’s resolve to prevent the irreparable harms of the austerity cuts which have slashed the workers’ wages by a third over the past two years.
Tsipras also stated that the only solution to tackle Greece’s financial crisis is to repudiate a large part of its debt.
Syriza surged from a marginal faction to Greece’s second largest party after the June elections.
The Syriza leader urged Athens to work in collaboration with other indebted European countries to resolve the sweeping debt crisis across the eurozone and refuted concerns that Greece is at the risk of being expelled from the bloc.
“Nobody in the eurozone has a political motive to force a country to leave.”
Greece is seeking to finalize an austerity program of over 11.5 billion euros (about 14.9 billion dollars).
The package includes slashing pensions by 3.5 billion euros, health cuts worth 1.47 billion euros, and a 517-million-euro reduction in defense spending.
The proposed austerity program has already caused public protests.
On September 8, about 15,000 trade unionists and leftists held a demonstration in Thessaloniki to express anger over the proposed cuts.
Last week, about 4,000 police, coastguards and firemen also staged demonstrations against the budget cuts outside the finance ministry and the parliament.