Greek civil servants walk off their jobs and take to the streets, calling the new bailout ''barbaric.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Pharmacists pulled down their shutters across Greece on Wednesday (July 15) and civil servants walked off their jobs and rallied in the Greek capital against a new bailout deal that saved Athens from bankruptcy but will impose more reforms on the crisis-hit country. Protesters marched against austerity in central Athens in the morning, holding banners reading "Cancel the bailout!" and "No to the policies of the EU, the ECB and the IMF". As they passed in front of parliament, where lawmakers will vote on the reform-for-aid deal later on Wednesday, protesters shouted: "Everybody together, bring down bailouts and bosses." The vote is key to unlocking aid Greece desperately needs to stay afloat but is hard to accept for many in a country where unemployment has jumped above 25 percent and the economy has shrunk by a quarter in the course of two previous bailouts. Unions, but also lawmakers in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' leftist Syriza party, chafe at a raft of tax hikes and pension reforms that must be passed in the vote Wednesday if bailout talks with international lenders are to start. Labour unions, the communist party and anarchists have also planned more rallies throughout the day to reject the austerity. In a sign that many might be resigned to austerity, the first march in the morning only gathered a few hundred people. The union could not yet give an estimate of how many civil servants took part in the strike. But amidst the participants in the march, many shared a disappointment with a government elected to reject austerity and that has agreed to more tough reforms. Pharmacists, already grappling with difficulties to get their hands on medicines amid capital controls and a row over exports, also went on strike to protest plans that could see people without a chemist degree own pharmacies, a union spokesman said. In the bailout bill, the government commits to adopting by July 22 a timeframe for a reform of pharmacy ownership. That is one of the steps to liberalise the economy required by its euro zone peers as a condition to open aid talks. Pharmacists are also worried about the fact that the EU statement foresees talks on opening up the sale of over-the-counter drugs. For the time being they can only be purchased in pharmacies and make up around 25 percent of the pharmacists' income, the Health Ministry said. The Health Ministry said on Tuesday (July 14) it had decided to ban the export of 25 drugs, following warnings of possible shortages as pharmacists said they had difficulties getting access to some medicines.