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As law and order collapsed on the streets of Athens, France and Germany sent in 5,000 ‘peacekeepers’ to restore calm. But when they came under attack from petrol-bomb throwing demonstrators, it was clear that more drastic action might be needed.
Meanwhile, the Greek collapse was sending shockwaves across Europe.
With the markets turning their attention to Italy, and Silvio Berlusconi’s beleaguered government struggling to maintain order, Europe’s fifth largest economy was suddenly at risk.
In the summer of 2012, massive anti-capitalist demonstrations in major Italian cities turned into outright rebellion. And when Berlusconi sent in the army to maintain order, the first bombs began exploding in the banks of Rome, Milan and Turin.
Anti-capitalism had caught the imagination of a generation. And the bomb alert at the Bank of England —when the entire City had to be evacuated after warnings from the so-called ‘Guy Fawkes Anti-Cuts Collective’ — was merely the first of many.