Two million people took to the streets of Athens last week in the country's second general strike this month, protesting the austerity measures proposed by their socialist government. All of Greece came to a 24-hour standstill and the airport was closed as a result of the action. The only public transport was the commuter train so that protesters could reach the demonstration.
The crisis broke last autumn after Prime Minister George Papandreous took office and discovered the country was bankrupt. The conservative government had cheated to get into the European Union euro zone in 2001, cooking the books. What on paper -- creative accounting courtesy of Goldman Sachs -- was a budget deficit of 3 per cent and public debt 60 per cent of GDP, by 2009 had ballooned to 13 per cent and 125 per cent.