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debt crisis

In Greece, Germany and throughout the European continent, social media users delivered their verdict on a deal to bail out Greece – and keep it within the monetary union known as the euro zone – with a Twitter hashtag #ThisIsACoup.

Just hours after news of the deal, the hashtag was trending on Twitter with over 423,000 tweets worldwide – a measure of the anger aimed at the European Union and the austerity measures that are being placed on Greece once again.

To find out why Greece could still end up exiting the euro and become a failed state, read the latest from the Globe's Eric Reguly.

The hashtag was propelled by high profile social media users and writers.

Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau used the hashtag in a tweet, “Greece demands respect, democracy, human rights. I am with Greece. #ThisIsACoup."

In a New York Times column, Nobel-prize winning columnist Paul Krugman, argued that the list of demands by European countries of Greece, is “madness.”

“The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief. It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for,” he wrote.

The origin of the hashtag was initially attributed to a Spanish physics teacher."The Eurogroup proposal is an undercover state coup against the Greek people,” he tweeted.

But a group of Spanish activists, borrowing from the lessons of the Arab Spring where social media was a powerful organizing and protest tool, later claimed responsibility.

“#ThisIsACoup may have started in Barcelona, but it resonated around the world because it expressed a common sense of impotence of citizens in the face of globalised financial powers,” they said in a statement.

Commentators cautioned European leaders that they were ignoring the online protest at their peril.

The Globe’s Michael Fraiman contributed to this report.