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Photos: Athenians feel the pinch of Greece's struggling economy

Most people in the streets around the Greek parliament feel they cannot endure more cutbacks - whether it means losing a warm place to sleep, or losing their luxury cars.

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Michael Voliotis, 22, a food vendor in downtown Athens, lives with his parents. His father, a school cook, has seen his salary cut from 1200 to 900 Euros per month as part of the government's new austerity regime -- but he still enjoys three months of paid vacation per year, part of an extensive system of perks for public employees.

Graeme Smith/graeme smith The Globe and Mail

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Yanis Tsakalos, 51, carries a Communist flag at a rally in front of the Greek Parliament on Friday night. His wife lost her job as a sales clerk five days ago, he said, and his own work as a street sweeper seems increasingly at risk because of downsizing by the municipal government. His salary has been cut in half in the last two years, he said, and he can no longer afford to buy fuel for the central heating system in their home. "We get under a pile of blankets and use the fireplace," he said.

Graeme Smith/graeme smith The Globe and Mail

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Daphne Casulli, 63, a pensioner, has two children. Cuts to her pension forced her to give up her apartment and move in with her daughter; however, her daughter's employer has not issued pay cheques for 15 months, a common problem as companies face cash shortfalls. Her son is unemployed, and moving to Australia in search of work. "So now I'm living with a friend, instead," Ms. Casulli said. "They have stolen our pride."

Graeme Smith/graeme smith The Globe and Mail

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Theodoros Marinelis, 42, owns an advertising agency; his friend Charis Lekkas, 45, is unemployed. They wear reflective vests as part of a volunteer security detail for medical workers at an anti-government rally; such events have turned violent, even deadly, in recent months. Mr. Marinelis has laid off all but one of his nine employees, as business slumped 70 per cent in the last year. None of his former workers have found new jobs, he said, but the hardship has not seriously affected his lifestyle. He was forced to sell his Audi A3, but still drives his motorcycle and his wife's Audi A6. "We can afford only the basics," he said, without irony.

Graeme Smith/graeme smith The Globe and Mail

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Nikos Tsoutis, 35, a graphic designer, says his business remains steady as his competitors have succumbed to the crisis. "The survivors are doing okay," he said. "My lifestyle hasn't really been affected, but my relatives need help." His sister lost her factory job a year and a half ago, and her unemployment benefits ran out months ago. He gives her money, and she picks up irregular work. "She's been sweeping stairs to support herself," Mr. Tsoutis said.

Graeme Smith/graeme smith The Globe and Mail

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