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Thousands of Greeks ask premier to resign

Thousands of Greeks gather in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of dissatisfied Greeks have staged a protest rally in Athens and another major city to ask the government to resign over continued austerity.

At least 10,000 Greeks gathered outside the parliament in Athens on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of the leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The protesters were supporters of the “Resign” movement, which perceives Tsipras's policies a failure, driving the country into more poverty.

They addressed the premier in their slogans, chanting “Resign!” and “People don’t want you, take your junta and leave!”

A similar demonstration was held at Thessaloniki, the second largest city in the country and the capital of Greek Macedonia in northern Greece.

A protester holds a picture depicting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras behind bars of a prison cell during a demonstration in Athens on June 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The Resign movement was organized through Facebook and other social media a few weeks ago.

It is a bid to allow protesters to vent their anger and discontent against strict austerity measures adopted by the ruling Syriza political party and to force the government to quit.

The movement’s representative Eleni Kritsidima had earlier said that the rally would be a peaceful one and the protests Wednesday went by peacefully.

The protest, however, has sparked fierce reactions from the leftist government which says the movement is instigated by opposition parties, New Democracy and PASOK.

“The ‘Resign’ movement is a cause that does not address the needs of Greek society and which is hostile towards the country at this time,” said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili on state TV on Tuesday.

“The organizers are trying to hide by saying that no [politicians] are involved and this is all a spontaneous thing,” she said.

People hold a banner reading “Go home Tsipras” in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

For years, Greece has been rocked by riots and industrial action in protest at the government's austerity policies which are dictated by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

Austerity measures are intended to reduce government debt and bring stability to the nation's economy but they have failed to improve Greece's financial situation.

The austerity program has instead compounded Greece's problems because spending cuts have worsened the crisis of lower aggregate demand.

Last July, Greece signed a deal with the three big lenders to receive an EUR 86-billion bailout in exchange for fresh austerity reforms.

The agreement, however, triggered outrage and numerous protests against Tsipras who came to power on an anti-austerity platform.

Greece has already received two bailouts in 2010 and 2012, worth a total of EUR 240 billion from its creditors following the economic crisis which began in 2009.

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