Photos of the Financial Crisis That Devastated Greece a Year Ago


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Photos of the Financial Crisis That Devastated Greece a Year Ago

It's been exactly one year since the Greek Bailout Referendum.

People withdrawing money in the center of Athens, while a homeless man sleeps next to them—the photo was taken in the early hours of June 27, 2015, just after Alexis Tsipras's referendum announcement. Photo by Panagiotis Maidis

This article originally appeared on VICE Greece.

In the morning of June 27, 2015—after a long, exhausting period of negotiations with the European Union, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund—Greek prime minister Alex Tsipras announced that he was going to let the Greek people decide whether the country should accept the lenders' latest proposed bailout conditions. The Greek bailout referendum was set to be held only a week later—on July 5, 2015.


Chaos, naturally, ensued. As soon as news of the referendum broke, hordes of Greeks ran to cash machines to withdraw as much cash as possible. In the following days, the Greek government decided not to pay back the latest installment of the loan—which meant that the country essentially declared bankruptcy. That led to capital controls that installed a withdrawal limit of about $65 and continuous demonstrations by supporters of both the "Yes" and "No" camps—all taking place in a backdrop of extremely high temperatures and strange, almost tropical, summer thunderstorms. Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected the bailout conditions, yet with imports dropping by 11.7 percent, consumption by 4.3 percent, and 3,000 fewer businesses created in the last twelve months, I think it's safe to say that life in my country has only gotten worse.

In light of this one-year anniversary, here are some photos from the week Greece will never forget.

Capital controls are introduced on June 29, 2015, which install a withdrawal limit of about $60—a small amount to some, a rather large amount to others.Panagiotis Maidis

A "No" demonstration takes place at Syntagma Square on June 29, 2015.Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

A pro-bailout demonstration takes place at the same place the next day—on June 30, 2015—but the rain makes things a little harder for the "Yes" crowds.Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

Banks open their doors again on July 2, 2015—but only to pensioners.Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

Meanwhile, tourists are having the time of their lives in Greece. Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

And some Greeks pack their bags for their annual trips to the islands. Panagiotis Maidis

On Thursday, July 2, 2015, riot police use gas and stun grenades against a group of protesters who try to hang anti-EU banners at the European Commission HQ in Athens.Panagiotis Maidis

July 3, 2015: A "No" demonstration in Syntagma squareAlexia Tsagari

Panagiotis Maidis

Alexia Tsagari

July 3, 2015: A "Yes" demonstration in KallimarmaroPanagiotis Maidis

On the weekend of the 4th and 5th of July 2015—hours before the referendum—temperatures go as high as 107 degrees. Many try to escape the extreme heat by going to the beach.Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

Still, the only thing on people's minds is the upcoming referendum.

Voter turnout is 62.5 percent.Panagiotis Maidis

Panagiotis Maidis

At the Ministry of Home Affairs, the first results point toward a "No" vote.Panagiotis Maidis

It's not long before the city center is filled with people celebrating the fact that the bailout conditions were rejected by a majority of over 61 percent. Panagiotis Maidis

Foreign media trail Greek politicians for statements. Panagiotis Maidis

And while Europe is waiting to see what Alexis Tsipras is going to do next…Panagiotis Maidis

Greece is dancing…

Panagiotis Maidis

… until the early hours of the morning.Panagiotis Maidis