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Greece

Deaths reported as Athens protest turns violent

Reuters

As many as three people have died in an Athens bank set on fire by Molotov cocktails during anti-austerity protests on Wednesday, according to firefighters. Police fired teargas at others who tried to storm parliament.Another public building is reported to be in flames.

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Violence was also reported in a demonstration in the northern city of Thessalonoki.

Thousands of people joined protests across Greece Wednesday, mobilised by left-wing parties and trade unions who claim that austerity measures agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) target the poor.

A two-day general strike has paralysed public transport and grounded air traffic. Civil servants kicked off protests on Tuesday, angry that their pay and pensions will be cut.

Parliament will vote on the package tomorrow.

The general strike is the third since the debt crisis erupted in Greece, spreading panic through the eurozone.

Markets today tumbled and oil prices slumped amid rumours that the crisis will spread to Spain and Portugal and fears that the Greek package will not be put through.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday descrbied as “absolute madness” rumours that Madrid is to ask the IMF for a 280-billion-euro bailout.

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