'Save Greece from EU prison!' Desperate debt graffiti daubed all over Athens

Graffiti artwork titled "Death of euros" made by French street artist Goin in Athens (Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)
As thousands of Greeks stage massive rallies over the debt crisis, some take to the streets expressing themselves through vibrant contemporary street art - both politically aware and socially engaged.

While ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and its international creditors remain gridlocked, Greeks have bitter experience of the hardships that the grave economic crisis has wreaked upon them.

Graffiti illustrating a modified dollar banknote in Athens (Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)

Austerity measures dictated by the country’s creditors have shrunk the economy by a quarter resulting in a 25-percent spike in unemployment.


The effects of the harsh budget cuts on the population have spurred an outcry on the walls of Athens, making it a thriving hub of contemporary street art.


The prevalent theme of the vibrant graffiti is that Greece was forced into a corner by the Troika (EU/IMF/ECB) of creditors.


One piece of graffiti shows a wall with a fenced window and a sign: “Free Greece from the European prison.”


A lot of a criticism is leveled at Germany with artists depicting Chancellor Angela Merkel in several works. Merkel is seen by them as the big bully leading the austerity push.


A message of protest is conveyed by an image of the ancient statue of Goddess Aphrodite of Milo wearing a scarf and a wreath consisting of the stars of the European Union flag.

Graffiti "Athena vs Europa, Resist vs Submit" made by French street artist Goin in Athens (Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)

Anti-EU sentiments calling for a ‘Grexit’ are expressed by images of a man freeing himself from a cage.

Others call on the Washington-based IMF to leave Europe and “go home.”

Graffiti in Athens (Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)

The lively artworks underscore the growing anxiety and fear among Greeks over the fallout from the bailout negotiations. On Wednesday, PM Alexis Tsipras said the international creditors hadn’t accepted the new Greek proposals. Fears are now mounting of a Greek default.

Graffiti in Athens (Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis)