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Greeks Rally Ahead of Bailout Vote


A woman raises a Greek flag during an anti-austerity rally in front of the parliament in Athens February 19, 2012.

A woman raises a Greek flag during an anti-austerity rally in front of the parliament in Athens February 19, 2012.

Thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets of Athens to protest severe austerity measures as eurozone ministers prepare to vote on a new $171 billion bailout for the debt-crippled nation.

As the demonstrators marched, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos left for Brussels where he was to hold talks with officials ahead of Monday's meeting of the finance ministers.

The ministers are expected to approve the loan after the Greek parliament last week approved a new package of spending and job cuts.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund demanded that all Greek political parties agree on the austerity plan before final approval of the bailout loan.

Greece faces bankruptcy if it cannot pay investors $19 billion in debt when government bonds come due next month. The government is negotiating a bond swap with the creditors that would save the country billions of dollars.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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