Greece is set to vote in a referendum on Sunday to decide whether to accept its creditors' demands for additional economic reforms in exchange for more loans.
Ahead of the referendum, thousands of Greeks gathered in Athens' central Syntagma Square on Friday to support the "No" vote. A RIA Novosti correspondent estimated that the rally gathered 50,000 people, while police claimed there were about 25,000.
Meanwhile another rally in the Greek capital, held at the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro), attracted those who are in favor of accepting the creditors’ new bailout proposal. A police officer told RIA Novosti that about 15,000 Greeks gathered at the stadium on Friday, while journalists estimated that there were no more than 10,000.
"I urge you to say a big and proud 'no' to ultimatums, turn your backs on those who terrorize you," Tsipras said in a televised address to the nation, as quoted by the Greek TV XS.
"Nobody has the right to threaten to break up Europe…. Greece was and will remain a cradle of European civilization," Prime Minister stressed.
Tsipras called on the citizens to vote on Sunday "with mind and heart."
Greece has been trying to unlock additional financial aid in order to avoid defaulting on its immense debt. On Tuesday, Greece’s latest bailout program came to an end and was not extended.
The nationwide referendum was announced early Saturday, as Tsipras rejected the new bailout terms offered by the Eurogroup. Following the move, negotiations between Greece and its international lenders broke down.