About 2,500 people demonstrated in Athens against the Greek government’s decision to seek help from the EU and the IMF. There were brief clashes with police protecting the European Commission building.
Teargas was used to stop a small group breaking through a cordon. Protesters also marched on the parliament. Another rally in the northern city of Thessalonika drew about 300 people.
The marches were called by left-wing parties, angry that the burden of the austerity measures is falling on the population. Banners carried slogans such as “capitalism should pay for the crisis” and “IMF go home”.
Many Greeks fear that the International Monetary Fund will force the government to take even harsher measures than it has brought in so far. The cuts are to take effect mainly in public spending, including lower pensions and wage freezes.
The government says that thanks to the measures, it is on course to reduce the deficit by 4 per cent this year. The protesters fear the loss to their pay packets may be significantly higher.