News / Europe

Greek Police, Anti-Austerity Protesters Clash in Athens

A Presidential guard box set alight by protesters at the unknown soldier monument burns during clashes outside the Greek Parliament, October 19, 2011.
A Presidential guard box set alight by protesters at the unknown soldier monument burns during clashes outside the Greek Parliament, October 19, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

Demonstrators protesting Greece's latest austerity measures clashed with riot police Wednesday in Athens, as tens of thousands of workers massed on Greek streets for a two-day general strike.

The Athens protesters hurled rocks and fire bombs at police on Syntagma Square outside Parliament, with police countering with bursts of tear gas and stun grenades. A sentry post for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was set on fire, while some demonstrators smashed windows of nearby stores with chunks of marble they tore off buildings.

At least 100,000 protesters converged on the square, with many of them carrying signs calling for the ouster of the government. Lawmakers were set to vote later in the day and Thursday on the austerity plan that would raise taxes and cut government jobs.

Another 50,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion, part of a nationwide work stoppage that has left massive piles of uncollected garbage on Athens streets, closed popular archaeological tourist sites and shut government operations. Most of the country's professionals, including doctors and teachers, joined the 48-hour strike, along with bakers, taxi owners and gas station operators.

Greece's international creditors have demanded that the Athens government approve the austerity plan as a condition of securing another segment of its $159 billion bailout from last year so it can avoid a default on its loans next month.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Parliament that it "must explain to the citizens" that the austerity measures are "absolutely necessary" so the country can avoid an even worse economic fate. Opponents of the Socialist government said its policies have been a failure.

Prime Minister George Papandreou has implored Parliament to pass the new austerity plan. The first vote is scheduled for Wednesday night, with a second austerity vote sometime Thursday.

Some lawmakers from Papandreou's Socialist party oppose the austerity measures, although they are still expected to pass it. Previous spending cuts have failed to make a dent in Greece's massive debt, which stands at 162 percent of its economic output.

Greece's economy is mired in the third year of a recession. The country's jobless rate hit 16.5 percent in July, just below the record set in May. Young workers were the hardest hit, with two in five without a job.

Unions in another financially troubled country, Portugal, have called for a nationwide general strike on November 24. They are upset that the government plans more spending cuts, including on salaries for government workers.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has called the country's financial state a national emergency. But Portugal was required to adopt the spending cuts and tax increases so it could secure its $108 billion international earlier this year.

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

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid