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Streets Erupt as Greece Begins Austerity Vote

Deep cuts expected to pass
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2011 7:22 AM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2011 7:47 AM CDT
Greece Austerity Measures: Riots Erupt as Vote Nears
Demonstrators run away from tear gas during a demonstration in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

(Newser) – Things got ugly in the streets of Athens today, as Greece’s parliament began voting on austerity measures—needed to keep the nation out of default—that looked increasingly likely to pass. Police firing tear gas fought what Reuters describes as “running battles” with protesters, who threw firebombs, rocks, and firecrackers, and knocked over barricades. Other protesters remained peaceful—one group broke into a traditional dance in front of police lines.

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One of the two remaining members of the ruling Socialist Party publicly opposing the austerity measures changed his mind today, as did one opposition legislator. That stoked expectations that the bill will pass and had European stock markets climbing, the New York Times reports. Protesters, naturally, were less enthused. “They’ll be the worst criminals in history” if the vote passes, one 57-year-old pharmacist opined. “We want to see them hanged.” (Read more Greece stories.)

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