Protesters have hurled petrol bombs and clashed with riot police after surrounding the Greek parliament ahead of a final deadline for the country’s €86 billion bailout deal.
Police responded with tear gas against dozens of hooded anti-austerity demonstrators who set ablaze parts of Syntagma square in central Athens. Hundreds of armour-clad officers also used pepper spray to fight back youths in the 12,000-strong crowd who were hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks at them. The youths, some carrying clubs and wearing balaclavas, had mingled with ordinary protesters when crowds gathered as MPs met tonight to vote on austerity measures required for the latest European bailout.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has angered many in his anti-austerity party and left wing supporters by throwing his weight behind the bills, which he and eurozone counterparts agreed to on Monday in order to unlock a new rescue to debt-laden Greece worth up to €86 billion.
Greece’s parliament has until midnight to pass a raft of measures including billions in cuts, VAT rises and pension reforms to secure the three-year bailout. It now looks increasingly likely to adopt the reforms, in large part thanks to pro-European opposition parties.
More than half of Tsipras’s Syriza party members slammed the deal, branding it ‘humiliating’ and ‘destructive’. The harsh austerity measures Greece would have to put in place to release the bailout fund have been widely condemned, with even the International Monetary Fund branding them unfair.
Earlier Tsipras revealed that even he does not believe in the tough bailout deal offered by eurozone leaders but said he only agreed to implement it in order to save the near-insolvent country, adding that he has no intention of resigning over the matter.
Defending the terms, Tsipras said the ‘bad deal’ was the best available under the circumstances. source