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Greek pensioners rush to banks for cash allowance

Pensioners rushed to Greece's banks after two days of ATM-only service. Elderly people, many of whom do not use debit cards, were permitted double the daily cash withdrawal limit currently in force.

Queues formed at branches across Greece on Wednesday as the government opened up banks to service those people unable to withdraw any money this week. With Greece's solvency hanging in the balance in talks in Brussels, on Monday and Tuesday savers could withdraw a maximum of 60 euros ($66.50) per day using ATMs, as the branches themselves stayed shut.

Following complaints from pensioners who do not use debit or credit cards, the capital controls were partially eased to allow the elderly access to their money. Roughly 1,000 branches opened, solely to allow pensioners to withdraw a maximum of 120 euros in cash each.

Normal service is not expected to resume at banks in Greece until after Sunday's planned referendum on the terms offered to Athens by its major creditors, namely the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Griechenland Krise Transparent Finanzministerium in Athen

Greece's ruling party - Syriza - has campaigned for a "No" vote ahead of Sunday's referendum

Tsipras appeals for 'OXI' vote

Prime Minsiter Alexis Tsipras took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, issuing a series of posts in English again calling for a "No" vote in Sunday's referendum. First, he focused on the unpopular issue of capital controls, placing the blame for the bank closures on the European camp.

Tsipras continued with a series of short statements arguing that a "No" vote would not mean Greece's losing the European single currency, but rather that it would impose "strong pressure" on lenders and would contribute to "returning to the Europe of values." He rejected claims that he was seeking a mandate to withdraw Greece from the European Union.

Greek banks were shut amid fears in Athens of a run on capital, owing to the uncertainty surrounding the referendum and negotiations in Brussels. Greek banks currently remain solvent courtesy of "ELA" (Emergency Liquidity Assistance) payments from the European Central Bank. The ECB was expected to agree to continue providing these payments at its weekly meeting in Frankfurt on Wednesday evening.

msh, ls/mkg (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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