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Protests in Greece ahead of tax, pensions vote

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Riot police disperse demonstrators during minor clashes that broke out during a protest against reforms to the tax and pension system

Riot police disperse demonstrators during minor clashes that broke out during a protest against reforms to the tax and pension system

Protesters yesterday gathered outside parliament in Greece ahead of a vote on further austerity measures in return for more international bailout money.

The rally coincided with a three-day general strike against the introduction of tax and pension changes.

Greece has been unable to unlock the next loan instalment of €5bn (£4bn) after clashing with its creditors over the need for more reforms.

The protests come amid fears of another crisis in the Eurozone.

An extraordinary meeting of the Eurogroup is being held today.

Greece agreed to a third rescue package worth €86bn (£60bn; $94bn) last year.

There were worries it may default on €3.5 billion in debt payments due in July if an agreement is not reached soon.

The International Monetary Fund and other European partners are demanding that Greece implements further austerity measures to generate nearly €4bn in additional savings – contingency money in case Greece misses future budget targets, the BBC said.

Eurogroup ministers from countries, which use the euro will assess “a comprehensive package of policy reforms as well as the sustainability of Greece’s public debt”, a statement said.

“Both elements need to be in place in order to finalise the programme’s first review and unlock further financial assistance to Greece.”

Once again protesters gathered in Syntagma Square, just outside Greece’s parliament, as lawmakers debate tax and pensions reforms inside the building. Thousands marched in Athens on Saturday – but yesterday’s rally was expected to be even bigger.

The changes expected to be approved by MPs include tax hikes and pension cuts, which naturally have a lot of people here worried.

A man who runs a meat stall at Athens’ main market said that if the bills went through, he would simply stop paying up, because for him, it would mean a choice between his children going hungry and paying taxes.


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