Greeks Riot After Bailout Plan Passes
Austerity plan opens deep rift in ruling party
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2015 4:44 AM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2015 6:00 AM CDT
Anti-austerity protesters march in front of the parliament after clashes in Athens last night.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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(Newser) – Greece's troubled left-wing government was seeking urgent relief from European lenders today after it pushed a harsh austerity package through parliament, triggering a revolt in the governing party and violent demonstrations in central Athens. In a post-midnight vote, the country's parliament voted 229-64 to implement more austerity measures that include pension reforms and sweeping sales-tax hikes. Approval came thanks to pro-European opposition parties who voted in favor, and in spite of deepening dissent within Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party. Some 38 party lawmakers—nearly one in four—defied Tsipras by voting against or abstaining.

Greeks have seen a dramatic decline in living standards since the debt-plagued country lost market access in 2010 and had to impose severe spending cuts in exchange for bailout loans from eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. Before the austerity vote, some 12,000 demonstrators gathered outside parliament in the biggest protest against the government since Tsipras won elections in late January. The rally turned violent when several hundred youths attacked police, torched cars, and smashed office displays. Police said 37 people were detained and 16 arrested over the clashes.
 

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