Tags: greece | anti-austerity | protests | flare

Greece Anti-Austerity Protests Flare as Belt Tightening Debated

By    |   Thursday, 16 Jul 2015 10:01 AM

Greece was rocked with anti-austerity protests Wednesday night as Parliament was approving tax hikes and spending cuts demanded by the country’s creditors for its latest bailout.

The austerity bill, which was approved around 2 a.m. Thursday, imposes sweeping tax increased and cuts in spending over the next three years in a plan ordered by Eurozone rescue leaders, according to The Associated Press.

 


Around 9:15 p.m., riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to quell anti-austerity protesters who were throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers outside the Parliament. Roughly 12,500 people attended the rally in Syntagma Square as the Greek lawmakers debated consumer tax increases and pension reform measures.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been struggling to hold his government together in support of the bill, which is a requirement issued by Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund in order for Greece to receive its latest bailout package for its debt crisis, according to The Wall Street Journal.

More than half of Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party declared that it would not support the bill.

“I respect the prime minister enormously and his stance is one of ultimate selflessness. But parliament must not complete the blackmail (by creditors) that the government has been subject to,” said parliamentary speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou as the committee debated the bill. “We are obligated to ask from the so-called partners to respect democracy…I felt real anger when I heard (German chancellor Angela) Merkel announcing what and how the Greek parliament will vote.”

Dissenters have continued to argue that Greece cannot face any more cuts and tax hikes after experiencing a 6-year-long recession and a steep rise in poverty and unemployment levels, noted the AP. Several leading figures in the Syriza party voted against the bill, including Energy Prime Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

During the demonstrations outside Parliament on Wednesday night, protestors wore makeshift masks in anticipation of the ensuing chaos while confused tourists wandered around, as well, according to the International Business Times.

 



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Greece was rocked with anti-austerity protests Wednesday night as Parliament was approving tax hikes and spending cuts demanded by the country’s creditors for its latest bailout.
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2015-01-16
Thursday, 16 Jul 2015 10:01 AM
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