Austerity-hit Greeks dance for world record

ATHENS (Reuters Life!) - More than 150,000 people held hands and danced on the Greek island of Crete Saturday to try to set a world record and dispel the gloom of economic austerity.

The dancers, some in traditional costumes, formed a human chain along a 200 km (125 mile) highway across Greece’s largest island while police halted traffic, event organizers said.

Locals and tourists tapped their feet to the sound of folk music for about 15 minutes.

“We feel proud. We believe we’ve set a new world record,” Spyros Prevezanos, head of the organizing group Planet Crete told Reuters. “Tonight we sent a message of hope, which is not related to money. We proved that there are more important values.”

A Guinness World Records spokesman said no record for the biggest Greek dance had previously been set and organizers of Saturday’s event, which initially aimed for 200,000 dancers, said they expected their world record bid to be accepted.

Greece is struggling to pull itself out of a debt crisis, implementing tough austerity measures in return for a 110 billion euro ($145 billion) EU/IMF bailout scheme.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Charles Dick