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Greece

More protests in Greece ahead of crucial vote in parliament

Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

Greece faces a crucial vote on Thursday on austerity measures aimed at averting a debt default as protestors vow to continue their action after violent demonstrations on Wednesday which left at least 45 people injured. 

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Parliament late on Wednesday adopted in a first reading the new bill which amends collective wage agreements, cuts major tax breaks, introduces a new civil service salary system and will temporarily lay off thousands of public sector staff. But some deputies have threatened to reject an article on wage amendments in Thursday’s follow-up vote.

The government has repeatedly warned that failure to pass the legislation ahead of Friday’s EU crisis summit would lead to a block of the release of loans from the IMF and the EU and cause a payment’s freeze.

Meanwhile, unions have called for another demonstration in Athens central Syntagma Square ahead of the vote.

On Wednesday, the streets around the parliament were the scene of fierce battles between riot police and masked protestors with at least 45 people inured and widespread vandalism on shops, banks and hotels in central Athens.

Police arrested five people over the violence which broke out on the sidelines of a massive demonstration, the largest since the start of the Greek debt crisis.

Overall at least 125,000 people are estimated by police to have demonstrated in major cities around the country against the government’s economic policies.
 

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