Protesters and riot police have been doing battle in Greece's capital again after lawmakers approved drastic austerity cuts needed to secure international rescue loans.
The loans are worth $140 billion and should keep Greece from defaulting on debt payments due this month. The International Monetary Found and members of the 16-nation euro-zone are trying to keep Greece's debt problems from spreading to other countries with finanical troubles, like Spain and Portugal.
But the cuts to pensions and civil servants' pay and the hikes
to consumer taxes have angered many. A nationwide general strike
yesterday ended with three people dead and dozens injured after
demonstrations in Athens turned violent and a bank was firebombed.
After today's vote, more than 30,000 protesters filled Athens'
streets again, banging and chanting that they would "fight back." Most of the demonstrators quickly dispersed, but police finally fired tear gas to drive off stone-throwing youths.
Greece's finance minister say the austerity measures are needed
to avoid the country's "deepest recession" ever. But, one protester calls it "blackmail."
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