Fear has been sweeping through Greece's streets and squares for months, but with the threat of an exit from the eurozone looming, fear has now turned into panic. Repeated incidents in Patras between immigrants, neo-Nazis and police are just the tip of an iceberg, the size of which is not completely clear. The day after the EU summit that was anything but clear regarding a stance on Greece, the atmosphere is grim, with real poverty gaining ground. In Athens alone, 13,000 people have no fixed abode. The figures by the Greek NGO, Praksis, reported by the daily newspaper Kathimerini, say that 1,500 of them are sleeping on the streets, with the other 11,500 - mainly immigrants with no valid papers - living in occupied buildings. Up to 20 people are crammed in to crumbling flats in the centre of the Greek capital. Those who find refuge for the night under cardboard boxes include drug addicts left to fend for themselves after the closure, due to a lack of funding, of detox centres, but also a number of unemployed people, the Praksis president, Tzanetos Antypas, has told AFP. The figures, however, are uncertain, with some claiming that 25,000 are homeless. In an attempt to help those who have nothing, the Foundation of the shipbuilder, Stavros Niarchos, has announced a 10.2 million euro donation to 39 Greek NGOs involved in the struggle against poverty.
Meanwhile, in Patras, where the mayor Giannis Dimaras, has called the situation "explosive", there were further clashes in the early hours of Thursday morning. In the port area, outside the Piraikis-Patraikis factory, where a number of immigrants had sought refuge, a group with masked faces demanding the removal of the immigrants from the city threw Molotov cocktails and other missiles at police, who responded by firing tear-gas. In the same area of the city, a Greek man was killed by three illegal immigrants from Afghanistan a few days ago. The incidents that followed were featured hundreds of militants from Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), the neo-Nazi party that gained Parliamentary representation in the May 6 election, earning 7% of the vote.
The message from Brussels during the latest summit of member states is clear. If Greece wishes to remain in the eurozone, it must respect the commitments undertaken and implement the austerity measures requested. According to most analysts, all positions favouring the unilateral resetting of the deals reached between the so-called troika - International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank - and Greece would directly lead to the country's exit from the eurozone and subsequent default. In the meantime, the governor of Greece's central bank, Giorgios Provopoulos, has said that the first tranche of 18 billion euros to recapitalise the banks will arrive today or, at the latest, on Monday. "At a time of great uncertainty, it is important that the 18 billion euros be given to the banks," Provopoulos said. "Development must come from Greece itself. We need to accelerate privatisations, close down redundant state bodies, fight corruption and use the funds of the European Union".(ANSAmed).