PM Alexis Tsipras with members of his government during the extraordinary session of the plenary of the parliament, 27th of June 2015.

#DoYouRemember? — The prelude to the referendum

The days that shook Greece.

Photos: Panayotis Tzamaros, A. Christofilopoulos / FOS Photos

Back in 2015, on the 26th of June a busy and tumultuous week started for the Greeks. The European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Commission proposed a bailout package that caused major upheaval in Greek politics and society on the 25th of June.

The Greek government had proposed four alternative packages throughout June, in an attempt to avoid austerity and structural reform whilst keeping bailout funds rolling in. They were all rejected.

The SYRIZA government, that won its power in a snap election in January of the same year, unilaterally broke negotiations on the 26th of June.

The next morning, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that the Greek people had to decide on whether to accept the Troika’s proposal. The referendum, a simple Yes/No question on the creditor’s complex memorandum, was scheduled for the 5th of July.

On the same day, Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis imposed capital controls on Greece, that are still in effect today. The stock exchange was shut, along with 20 banks. ATM withdrawals were limited to €60 per day. Queues started forming almost immediately.

An extraordinary session of the plenary of the parliament was held on the same day. They voted on the 28th of June, giving the green light to the referendum.

PM Alexis Tsipras during the extraordinary parliamentary session.
“When Tsipras said in 2011 that a referendum means bankruptcy,” the day’s headlines read.

At the same time, outside the parliament, people gathered in the first demonstration in favour of the “No” vote. They were to win the referendum with a 61% majority. The ECB decided that Emergency Liquidity Assistance was to be maintained at 26th of June levels.

One of the protesters’ slogans was “No Deal.”
“People say no,” spray-painted on the steps outside the parliament.

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