Greek Protests Turn Violent Ahead of Austerity Vote

Posted November 7th, 2012 at 4:25 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

More than 80,000 Greek protesters fought with riot police outside parliament as lawmakers get ready to vote on another package of deep spending cuts and tax increases.

Protesters in Athens Wednesday threw firebombs at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Many Greeks are angry at the idea of having to endure more cuts required by the European Union if Greece is to get another installment of bailout funds. The new measures would increase some taxes and slash spending by another $17 billion, including government benefits and pensions.

Greek workers are holding a two-day strike against the proposed cuts. Train and ferry service was shut down for a second day Wednesday. Flights were canceled and schools and government offices closed.

If parliament rejects the package, Greece will run out of money by the end of next week.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says Greece could be forced out of the eurozone if lawmakers do not pass the measures.

Elsewhere in Europe, the European Union forecast a much sharper economic slowdown on the continent than had previously been predicted. The European Commission said eurozone growth in 2013 will come in at just 0.1 percent — down from the 1 percent earlier expected. The commission said gross domestic product across the 17-nation currency area will shrink to 0.4 percent in 2012.