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.

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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid