Greece Passes Austerity Bill As Riots Spread
World markets have reacted positively after the Greek parliament approved spending cuts aimed at securing a second bailout.
Before the parliamentary vote, violence broke out in the capital and spread to other towns and cities.
Buildings including a cinema and a bank were set on fire and shops were smashed up as masked rioters fought police.
Dozens of officers and protesters were injured, while more than 20 suspected rioters were arrested.
It happened after more than 100,000 protesters marched to parliament to demand a vote against the latest cuts.
Sky News Europe correspondent Robert Nisbet said: "The Greek people have been suffering, there is no doubt about that.
"You just have to look at some of the figures. Unemployment here is running at well over 20% and if you look at 15 to 24-year-olds half are now unemployed, pensions have been cut drastically and public sector workers have been sacked.
"But now this austerity package has been passed there is going to be even more pain - 150,000 further public sector workers are going to be made redundant, 15,000 this year, and the munimum wage cut by 22%."
Stock markets rose following the news, with Britain's FTSE 100 up by 0.8% in early trading and Germany's DAX up 0.6%. Asian stocks also chalked up gains.
Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to decide whether Greece has done enough to warrant the 130bn euro (£109bn) bailout.
Should it be given the green light, private sector bond-holders will reportedly announce a Greek debt swap deal immediately after those talks.
Sources familiar with the talks have told Reuters that it would amount to a haircut of 70% on their Greek bonds - essentially saving Greece up to 100bn euros (£84bn).
Before Sunday's vote, Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos denounced the riots as he urged parliament to help the country avoid bankruptcy.
"Vandalism, violence and destruction have no place in a democratic country and won't be tolerated," he said.
State TV reported violence had also broken out in Heraklion, the capital of Crete, as well as the towns of Volos and Agrinio in central Greece.
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned that the alternative to the bill, bankruptcy and a possible exit from the eurozone, would be much worse.
"The choice is not between sacrifice and no sacrifices at all, but between sacrifices and unimaginably harsher ones," he told parliament.
MPs voted 199-74 in favour of the cuts with opposition coming from members of the two main coalition parties.
Forty-three politicians from the majority Socialists and conservative New Democracy refused to back the measures. They were immediately expelled by their parties.
Greece needs the latest bailout before March 20 to meet debt repayments of 14.5bn euros, or suffer a chaotic default which could shake the entire eurozone.
It hopes to combine the bailout with a massive bond swap to write off half the country's privately held debt.
what do you think?
Greece cannot compete under one currency, the euro, with the northern industrial nations such as Germany. So they've borrowed and spent since joining the EU to support 53% of their working population in the public sector instead of investing in business and commerce. Greece's public borrowing is 81% of GDP simply to service their current borrowing and yet the Greeks still believe being in the eurozone is some cozy club with no alternatives such as defaulting and reverting back to the national currency. The euro is a trap that will crush Greece forever. Free yourselves Greece and leave.
The 130 billion Euros does not exist, it is only a figure printed on credit notes. So to stop the Greeks coming back for more in a few weeks time increase the figure ten fold that way there will be no riots no un pleasantness or bloodshed, in fact the same can be done for Spain Portugal Ireland etc. Just as long as China , America an Japan dont realise they are being paid in worthless money for their exports the system can go on forever. Its perfect half the world working to keep the other half in idleness
This is because no one can borrow themselves out of debt. It simply does not work.
The Greek Govt are bunch of sackless individuals who should wake up and realise they are answerable to the people and NOT the IMF! Thye are destroying their own country!
Wrong, ABritMum, The Greek Government are powerless to stop the rot. The only rioters are the Public Service workers who have seen their wages and pensions cut by 50%. These are the teachers, nurses etc who have their wages paid by the state. The vast majority of the "workers" don't pay any tax because they get paid "cash in hand" by the black market. No bank accounts and no credit cards. What they earn can't be traced. If their earnings can't be calculated, then they dont pay tax. SIMPLES.
This does not make it OK Peter. You have to look with bigger eyes than that.
No, it does not make it OK, but the Greeks have only themselves to blame. The Government cannot collect taxes from people they don't even know exist, so why oh, why do they expect us (The rest of Europe) to bail them out over and over again.
The Greeks have only themselves to blame? Are WE to blame for the lousy decisions of our Govt? Do we really have a say? NO. Your argument is invalid.
ABritMum - More than 50% of the Greek people don't pay any tax so they have no right to any say. Not only that, they do not vote as they are "invisible" to their government. As in this country, if you refuse to vote, then you cannot complain at what the government does. Yes, the Government makes lousy decisions at times. but that is why your vote is paramount.
Germany are getting what they always wanted - to rule Europe. They lost 2 wars trying to build an empire now they are doing it by monetary means.
when are we all gonna wake up, the eurozone and the whole world is in financial mess! And will never get solved. This whole thing started in 2007 due to the incompitance of grossly overpaid bank bosses and brainless goverment leaders.What a joke they are. Not only should they be sacked they should be jailed for their crimes, they have caused havoc to their countries and hardship they will now be causing to the general public. Portugal and Spain next What a joke!!!!
And the ball keeps rolling.I suppose we must now worship the 4th reich.
The Greeks haven't done too much to help themselves but I do feel sorry for them. Once again Germany seems to be attempting to dominate Europe, or at least the Eurozone, whilst having done very well out of it themselves. There is no doubt they could have done much more to help Greece but seem intent on ruining that proud nation. Thank goodness we have no part in the single currency.
The Greeks are only being asked to do what they said they had done when they entered the EEC. Yet again gross over-spending on a bloated public sector is one of the causes for Greece's problems. Was their parliament led by Gordon Brownadopolous?!! If these rioters like it or not, they have had it too easy for too long