Here's what people told me at the massive rally against a bailout deal in Athens

Pretty much every news outlet in the world is focused on Greece right now, ahead of a July 5 referendum on whether to accept a bailout deal negotiated with Europe and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The government is campaigning for a “No” vote, and pushing to reject the deal it negotiated. On Monday, several thousand people gathered in central Athens to show their support for rejecting the agreement.

They assembled in Syntagma Square, the focal point of Athenian politics.

I spoke to a handful of people at the huge, peaceful rally in front of the parliament — the ones I spoke to seemed to think that a No vote would mean Greece leaving the eurozone, and that would be a positive thing.

Rallies for a Yes vote are likely to follow in the days ahead.

Here’s what some of them told me on Monday night:

I'd seen some of the posters for the rally around the centre of town -- they must have been whipped up pretty quickly, given that the referendum was only announced three days earlier.

I met a British student who was selling magazines for a left-wing organisation. They want there to be an organised, working-class movement to promote an alternative way of running the country if there's a 'No' vote.

One sector of the economy seems to be doing well: Flag salesmen. There were a huge number of different groups in attendance, all with their own banners and signs.

The protests went up to the wall in front of the Greek parliament building -- they're a fairly regular sight in this part of Athens, and there'll almost certainly be protests for the 'Yes' side during the week

Police in riot gear hung around on the steps leading up to parliament, but I didn't see any hints of violence from the crowd at all. The assembly was completely peaceful, and a lot more socially varied than the ones I've seen in the UK.

Speakers . A young man called Dimitris (not pictured) said he hoped a 'No' vote would lead to Greece leaving the eurozone, but that he didn't think the government intended for that to happen.

The crowd stretched back all the way down the central area, back towards the retail part of the city.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaueble did not seem to be the protesters' favourite international politician.

The flag drawn on the left of this banner is used as a Syriza symbol. Lots of the crowd seemed to be affiliated with other, smaller left-wing groups too.

Some organisations seemed to like keeping their own section of the crowd -- like the Unified Popular Front protesters pictured here.

There were children, parents, young people and plenty of pensioners around. It seemed much more like a broad movement than the anti-austerity protests I've seen in the UK.

I spoke to a young couple in a cafe afterwards, who said that the world's banks and international institutions were backing a 'Yes' vote, and said they didn't like that people in the UK seemed to enjoy Greece's turmoil.

Here's another shot of the police presence, behind a huge Greek flag.

There weren't many hammer and sickle emblems about, but the Workers Revolutionary Party (EEK) did have one.

There were also riot police on the far edge of the protest, and most people in the crowd kept their distance.

Some of the banners were pretty impressive, whether you agree with the cause or not. This one gets unfurled regularly at Greek anti-austerity protests.

There was no hostility at all in the crowd, and people seemed remarkably relaxed about what might be a huge historical turning point for Greece.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.