Marathon queues snaked in front of automated taller machines across Greece this weekend. Uneasy Greeks are withdrawing cash after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for an unexpected referendum to be held Sunday, a poll that will determine the near-bankrupt state’s fiscal fate.
To prevent a possible financial collapse, banks across the nation will reportedly shutter until July 7—enough time to pull off the vote.
The referendum will ask the populace to decide whether or not the country should accept its European creditors’ proposals. While the lenders want to impose greater austerity, the Greeks fear that those terms would sink their defaulting economy into an deeper recession. The result may help determine whether Greece remains within the European Union.
Tsipras’ last ditch effort will, however, arrive late. On Tuesday, Greece’s bailout is set to expire at the same time as it is set to make a $1.8 billion debt payment to the International Monetary Fund. No one is quite sure how the week will shake out but, so far, Greek banks have been kept afloat through emergency support from the European Central Bank.
As a result, the Greeks have been clamoring to withdraw their funds from the banking system before the closures. They emptied the supply of euros from more than a third of country’s 5,500 ATMs quicker than the machines could be refilled this weekend, according to Reuters, which cited banking sources. On Saturday alone, the Greeks collectively withdrew as many as 600 million euros, the wire said.
Attitudes of those waiting in line to take out money ranged from “very concerned and “very insecure” to “not scared in the least,” the Guardian reported.
To understand how we got here, read this insightful Q&A by Fortune senior editor Geoffrey Smith. To understand what the situation is like in Greece, see the queues firsthand below:
Greeks queue in front of the National Bank to use ATM to withdraw cash as Parliament holds an emergency session for the government’s proposed referendum June 27, 2015 in Athens, Greece.Photograph by Milos Bicanski — Getty Images
Customers queue to use an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Alpha Bank branch in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Sunday, June 28, 2015.Photograph by Konstantinos Tsakalidis — Bloomberg via Getty Images