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All of Greece partied last night after rejecting austerity

Faced with a choice between economic hardship imposed by European creditors and an uncertain future, Greece chose the unknown

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For most Americans, this past weekend was one long celebration of national pride, as the Independence Day fireworks gave way to the Women’s World Cup final victory. But the US wasn’t alone in having a patriotic party; the Greeks were dancing in the streets on Sunday as well. Greece’s reasons for jubilation are a little more complex than the American ones, but the end result has been a rather similar expression of national unity and self-determination.

Sunday’s big event for the Greek people was a referendum asking them whether to accept the latest proposal from the country’s international creditors. Saying “yes” would have secured Greece a fresh tranche of bailout money to keep it from teetering off the edge of economic oblivion, but it also would have accelerated an increase in the country’s pension age and imposed tough new conditions on an already embattled population. Saying "no," more than just the opposite of "yes," would serve as a symbolic defiance of austerity imposed from outside. The Greek people decided, with a clear majority, to reject the proposed bailout. And then they threw a party.

Lead photo: PACIFIC PRESS / Getty Images