Greece OKs Austerity Bill Amid Rioting
Dozens of police and protesters injured, buildings ablaze
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2012 5:18 PM CST
Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, bottom left and Foreign deputy Minister Dimitris Donis applaud Prime Minister Lucas Papademos during a debate at the Parliament on Sunday Feb. 12, 2012.   (Dimitri Messinis)
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(Newser) – Greece's parliament has approved an austerity and debt-relief bill, crucial for the country to avoid bankruptcy and remain in the eurozone. Lawmakers voted today in favor of the bill that imposes harsh new austerity measures in return for a $171 billion new bailout agreement and related deal with private creditors to shave $132 billion off the country's national debt. The vote occurred after extensive rioting and looting swept through the Greek capital.

Demonstrators set buildings ablaze and fireballs lit up the night sky in Greece's capital 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 and at least 37 protesters were injured, and more than 20 suspected rioters were detained.
 

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