My dad’s eyes started to water. Around them, all at once, everyone was in the same state. The subway arrived, the crowd crammed in, and minutes later their conditions were gone.
The protestors above them likely didn’t recover from the tear gas so quickly, though CNN reports they fought back against police in riot gear by throwing rocks and stones. Early Tuesday morning saw the start of a 2-day general strike as transportation workers joined citizens in protesting the five-year package of tax increases and spending cuts lawmakers were to vote on Wednesday.
In preparation, the police set up barricades around the Greek Parliament. And when the tear gas canisters started flying, this parliament guard remained resolute. It’s possible moments after the photo was snapped that he blinked, wiped his eyes, or turned his head – but something about that “bring it, bitches” expression says otherwise.
The next morning parliament approved the cuts: a $40 billion austerity package that will ideally save the country from otherwise certain bankruptcy. A second bill was passed Friday, and ministers are meeting on July 11th to consider yet another bailout. Perhaps more demonstrators will gather, and more tourists like my parents may be advised to avoid the area. But come sun, rain, or tear gas, I imagine this man will be standing guard when they vote.