Greece Austerity Measures Provoke Clashes Between Protesters and Police

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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
October 19, 2011|12:22 pm

Protests in Greece turned violent today in front of the Greek parliament building as thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest a Parliamentary vote that would lead to more austerity measures in the country.

Violence broke out around noon as protestors began throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at the police.

The police responded by firing teargas and throwing stun grenades into the crowd.

Protestors chanted, “Don’t bow your head, it’s time for resistance and struggle.”

Police have estimated that up to 70,000 people turned out for the protest, whereas organizers of the protest have suggested the number is more likely around 120,000 people.

A young protestor, Anastasia Kolokotsa told Reuters, “We have no future here. All young people want to go abroad and they are right to do so.”

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She added, “There are no jobs, there is nothing here.”

Nikos Kioutsoukis, a top official in one of the unions that is leading the protests said, “If they have any humanity, decency, sense of pride and Greek soul left, they must reject the bill.”

Today’s protest is part of a larger two-day movement, which witnessed thousands of Greek workers walk off of their jobs or close up shop on Wednesday.

The strike is the second strike of the month and has turned out to be the biggest workers strike that has occurred in the country since Greece turned to the euro zone for support in their sovereign debt crisis two years ago.

The two-day protest was largely orchestrated by labor unions and the protest is planned to go on while the Greek Parliament works on passing the new round of austerity measures in order to secure much-needed aid to its debt saddled government.

The measures would include an effective elimination of the minimum wage for millions of workers, pay cuts, job losses, and higher taxes for the private sector.

The protest has literally halted the nation with most international travel suspended in the country, all flights canceled, bakeries and stores closed, and schools and courts shut down. Even public transportation has been brought to a standstill with only limited service running to enable workers to attend protest rallies.

The move on behalf of the Greek government is an attempt reassure international backers that lawmakers are doing all they can to earn the bailout funds that have been promised to the country so as to avert a debt default that could rattle the entire euro zone.

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