Clashes in Athens after austerity plan vote

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Clashes in Athens after austerity plan vote

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There have been some clashes between police and protesters in Athens, after parliament voted to approve the government’s austerity plan in return for a multi-billion euro bail-out from the EU and the IMF.

As a few hundred protesters rallied outside the parliament, some pelted a police cordon with bottles and stones. The police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Earlier thousands protested peacefully, many chanting their opposition to the bill.

The law paves the way for 30 billion euros worth of tax hikes, pension reforms and deep cuts in public sector bonuses which will reduce take-home pay for an estimated fifth of the workforce.

In return Greece will receive aid in loans of 110 billion euros over three years – 80 billion from other EU states; the rest from the International Monetary fund.

Before the vote, prime minister George Papandreou said there was no time to lose in reforming Greece’s broken economy, whose debt and deficit problems had triggered a wider crisis threatening the entire euro zone.

The government won the vote, although three socialist MPs refused to support the bill. They have been expelled from the government’s team.

Meanwhile people in Athens flocked to lay flowers at the site of the bank where three employees were killed in a petrol bomb attack during protests on Monday.