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Greece parliament prepares for austerity vote

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Greece parliament prepares for austerity vote


Violence continued overnight in Athens on Wednesday ahead of today’s vote on a raft of hard-hitting austerity measures.

Riot police armed with tear gas and batons fought with protesters as Greece teeters on the brink of bankruptcy.

As the debate on the spending cuts, tax increases and privatisations began in parliament, unions embarked on a 48-hour strike to protest against the measures demanded by international lenders.

The rally began peacefully enough but by early afternoon demonstrators, many wearing gas masks, pelted police with masonry. As many as 20 police officers have been injured in the violence.

Transport, schools, other public services and many private businesses were closed as a result of the industrial action.

Prime Minister George Papandreou looks set to win the vote. But he must then implement policies that will see public sector jobs axed, state-owned companies closed, pensions cut, taxes hikes and a crackdown on endemic tax evasion.

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