Greece passes austerity deal amid rioting
Sunday, February 12, 2012
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after rioters in central Athens torched buildings, looted shops and clashed with riot police.
The historic vote paves the way for Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release $170 billion in new rescue loans, without which Greece would default on its debt mountain next month and likely leave the eurozone — a scenario that would further roil global markets.
Lawmakers voted 199-74 in favor of the cutbacks, despite strong dissent among the two main coalition members.
Sunday’s clashes erupted after more than 100,000 protesters marched to the parliament to rally against the drastic cuts, which will ax one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.
At least 10 buildings were on fire, including a movie theater, bank and cafeteria, and looters smashed dozens of shops in the worst riot damage in years.
Dozens of police officers were injured and at least 55 protesters were hospitalized. Forty-five suspected rioters were arrested and a further 40 detained.
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