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Violent protests as Greek parliament approves austerity bill

Violent protests as Greek parliament approves austerity bill
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The Greek government has voted by a wafer-thin margin to approve an austerity package need to unlock vital aid and avert national bankrupcy.

The 13.5 billion euros worth of belt-tightening measures are a precursor to the 2013 budget law, which the government is expected to push through on Sunday.

There were violent protests outside the parliament building in Athens. Protestors tried to break through barricades to get into the building. Riot police responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Water cannon were also deployed for the first time at a contemporary anti-austerity protest in Greece. There are no reports of serious injuries. 35 people were arrested.

The vote came on the second day of a two-day national strike, called by the country’s two biggest unions. Public transport ground to a halt and schools, banks and government offices were closed.