Greeks Clean Up a Smoldering Athens

But stock market responding positively in early trading
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Feb 13, 2012 12:56 AM CST
Updated Feb 13, 2012 4:03 AM CST

(Newser) – Skirmishes between police and protesters continued in Athens today, and buildings smoldered in the wake of Greece's vote on harsh new austerity measures. As many as 45 buildings have been torched and countless shops looted in the worst Greek rioting in years as 100,000 demonstrators took to the streets ahead of the vote, reports AP. Some 120 people have been injured in clashes in Athens and at least six other cities, reports Reuters. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos appealed for calm, warning that Greek cannot weather riots "at these crucial times. Vandalism and destruction have no place in a democracy and will not be tolerated," he added.

Historic buildings, banks, movie theaters and shops have been severely damaged. "I've had it! There's no point in living in this country any more," said a distraught shop owner. Greek lawmakers voted 199-74 for the new measures, which will ax one in five civil service jobs, and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth. The vote is part of a second financial rescue package for the nation worth some $170 billion that will be combined with a huge bond swap deal to write off half of Greece's privately held debt. One arena pleased with the vote is the stock market. Stocks were up in early trading, notes Bloomberg. (Read more austerity measures stories.)

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