Greeks strike, clash with police over austerity

By REUTERS
June 15, 2011 17:12

 
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ATHENS - Angry youths hurled petrol bombs at Greece's Finance Ministry and tens of thousands of protesters marched on parliament on Wednesday to oppose government efforts to pass new austerity laws for the debt-choked euro zone state.

Unions representing half the 5-million-strong workforce also launched a nationwide strike, shutting government offices, ports, schools and reducing hospitals to skeleton staff.

Prime Minister George Papandreou must push through a new five-year campaign of tax hikes, spending cuts and sell-offs of state property to continue receiving aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund and avoid default.

He not only faces public protests and resistance from a conservative opposition that has surpassed his Socialist party in opinion polls, but a few backbenchers in his own parliamentary grouping are also threatening to reject the plan.

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