Share this article

print logo

Lawmakers pass new austerity bill to avoid default

Greek lawmakers passed a deeply resented new austerity bill Thursday, caving in to the demands of international creditors in order to avoid a national bankruptcy, as a second day of riots left one protester dead and more than 100 people wounded.

The austerity measures won 154-144 in the 300-member parliament despite dissent from a prominent Socialist lawmaker who voted against a key article of the bill. The vote was expected to pave the way for a vital $11 billion payment from creditors within weeks so Greece can stay solvent.

Clouds of tear gas choked central Athens ahead of the vote as police intervened to separate rival demonstrators who fought for several hours with firebombs and stones outside parliament.

A 53-year-old construction worker died of heart failure after attending a mass rally, while 74 protesters and 32 police officers were hospitalized with injuries, police and state hospital officials said.

Police said they detained 79 people.

After initial hours of calm, the rioting erupted when hundreds of masked anarchist youths attacked a peaceful rally of about 50,000 people outside parliament, pelting them with firebombs and jagged chunks of marble. The Communist-backed union members counterattacked, and chaos ensued as the two sides fought with sticks and rocks before police fired tear gas to separate them.

There are no comments - be the first to comment