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Pro-Europe demonstrators hold the European flag at the entrance to the Greek Parliament in Syntagma Square, Athens. The Greek government are refusing any further pension cuts and have threatened to default on their debt repayments

‘Greece Sinking’ Ahead Of Crucial Referendum

WT24 Desk

The poll is still too close to call, with an estimated 10% of voters undecided. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rallied a huge crowd in the capital’s Syntagma Square on Friday night, urging people to vote “a proud no” to European creditors’ proposals, and “live with dignity in Europe”. His opponents at a rival Yes campaign rally across the city, say a No vote would mean financial chaos, and falling out of the European single currency.

Sky News travelled to the once-thriving port of Perama, where unemployment rates are now among the country’s highest, to find out how people there view the poll. The region has been hit hard by the Greek economic crisis over the last five years. A statue of a worker brandishing a spanner stands at the entrance to the docks – a monument to a proud shipbuilding past. But jobs here now are few and far between – unemployment at the shipyard has reached 90%.

A cruise-liner had docked the previous day, bringing work for 20 men for eight days, but a union representative told us the other ships needed only a few men each, so the situation was very hard. The man, who asked not to be named, said: “We are struggling. We are sinking, Greece is sinking.” A couple running a small cafe on the dockside told us they would definitely vote “Oxi”, or “No”, in the referendum.

They said Europe had humiliated them, and destroyed the country, that it was time to stand up for themselves. The Mayor of Perama, Giannis Lagoudakis, showed us the community centre, where they provide facilities for children, and help for low income families. He said they were facing a humanitarian crisis, so they must vote “no” on Sunday, though he also wants to stay in the eurozone.

“It’s a big no for us,” Mr Lagoudakis said. “We want to change our country because we want our children to have a different life than the life we have now. “I am sure about this – it can only come from a ‘no.'” People in Perama know only too well what more austerity measures mean – they go to the polls on Sunday with that first-hand experience in mind. Several repeated the prime minister’s phrase, that Greece had been “humiliated”, that voting No would help to reclaim their dignity.

Rightly or wrongly, many here believe what they are being told – that voting No is the only hope that things will change, Sky News reports. .

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