A Greece protester bloodied by violent confrontation with the riot police
A Greece protester bloodied by violent confrontation with the riot police
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Greece's new government - and the streets of Athens itself - appear to be edging closer to chaos after a series of bizarre events highlight the enormous difficulty its leaders will have in delivering the kind of reforms necessary to save its place inside the Eurozone.

Within the last twenty-four hours alone, Greece has named its second Finance Minister in as many weeks, saw the resignation of its privatisation chief watched with dismay as arsonists torched the offices of Microsoft and anarchists threatened to destroy the Supreme Court.

All of this comes against the backdrop of yet another strike by public employees - this time within the nation's catering and hospitality industry - and the recent spate of grisly public suicides and self-immolations by Greeks in protest against the government's €3.3bn programme of spending cuts and austerity measures.

"From the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1930s to anti-government demonstrations in Greece in 2010-11, austerity has tended to go hand-in-hand with politically motivated violence and social instability," say Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth in an exhaustive study published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

The public anger with the terms and conditions on its €240bn in Europe Union and International Monetary Fund loans has been peaceful of late - 80,000 marched in Athens without incident earlier this month - but has spilled over in to violence on a number of occasions, perhaps most tragically in the summer of 2010, when three people, including a pregnant woman, were murdered after protestors threw petrol bombs into a Marfin Bank branch in central Athens.

Recent events seem to suggest the pubic mood is darkening.

Late last night, armed gunmen stormed the ground floor of Microsoft's Greek headquarters, using a stolen truck to smash through the locked entrance before pouring flammable liquid onto the floor and setting the offices ablaze.

A few hours later, Greece's Supreme Court building was evacuated after two separate bomb threats were phoned into a local television news station. Police cleared the area around the central Athens landmark and surrounding roads have been closed, according to Kathimerini English, a daily Greek newspaper.

Analysts suggest Greece's newly-elected may run short of funds to pay its public workforce by as early as next month if it's not able to convince the so-called Troika of lenders (which includes the European Central Bank alongside the EU and the IMF) that it can re-align its plans to deliver structural reforms and spending cuts worth around 1.5 percent of Greece's GDP.

Among the measures needed are a steep 22 percent reduction in the national minimum wage, a 150,000 cull of the current civil service and around €1.1bn in healthcare spending and revenue reductions.

The task is immense - and perhaps even impossible. The Hobson's Choice Prime Minister Antonis Samaras now faces is either rejecting Troika demands and risk having its cash lifeline cut-off, or making the requested cuts and risk the kind of social upheaval that could topple his coalition government.

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that Greece lost it original choice as Finance Minister, Vassilis Rapanos, after a serious health issue forced him to quit earlier this week.

This followed Samaras' brief hospitalisation to repair a detached retina - a procedure which will prevent him from attending this week's European Leaders' Summit in Brussels to attempt to begin renegotiations of the Troika terms himself.

Compounding the government's difficulties was news of the resignation of Yiannis Koukiadis, the head of Greece's privatization fund, TAIPED. His departures creates yet another leadership void in one of the crucial components of the government's reform drive: TAIPED is charged with raising as much as €50bn in state asset sales by 2015 including stakes in Public Power Corp and gambling company Opap.

The toll the entire programme has taken on the debt-stricken nation has been catastrophic. More than 820,000 Greeks are officially out of work and the unemployment rate of 22 percent this year is more than double the 10-year average.

Greece once had one of the lowest rates of suicides in the entire world, but huge surge in both attempted and tragically successful suicides has shaken the country's confidence.

As a Reuters news story noted, Greece's suicide rate may have doubled to about 5 per 100,000 this year alone.

This week's European Leaders' Summit seems to have already discounted the impact its demands have had on the Greek people and the feeling of abandonment is palpable up and down the ancient nation.

Sadly, it seems, similar solutions for similar problems are being debated as leaders fear for the next Spanish or Italian domino to fall in the grand European project.