Violence erupts at Greek protest, parliament interrupted

ATHENS Wed Nov 7, 2012 11:06pm IST

1 of 2. Protestors gather in front of the parliament in Syntagma square during a 48-hour strike by the two major Greek workers unions in central Athens November 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

Related Topics

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police fired teargas and water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters who flooded into the main square before parliament on Wednesday in a massive show of anger against lawmakers due to narrowly pass an austerity package.

The violence erupted as a handful of protesters tried to break through a barricade to enter parliament, where Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to barely eke out a win for the belt-tightening law despite opposition from a coalition partner.

But the parliamentary session was briefly interrupted when parliament workers went on strike and opposition lawmakers walked out of the chamber in protest.

Outside parliament, loud booms rang out as protesters hurled petrol bombs and police responded with teargas and stun grenades. Smoke and small fires could be seen on a street next to parliament.

That came after a sea of Greeks braved a steady downpour holding flags and banners saying "It's them or us!" and "End this disaster!" stood before riot police guarding parliament.

In all, nearly 100,000 protesters - some chanting "Fight! They're drinking our blood" - packed the square and side streets in one of the largest rallies seen in months, police said.

Protesters held aloft Italian, Portuguese and Spanish flags in solidarity with other southern European nations enduring austerity.

"These measures are killing us little by little and lawmakers in there don't give a damn," said Maria Aliferopoulou, a 52-year-old mother of two living on 1,000 euros a month.

"They are rich, they have everything and we have nothing and are fighting for crumbs, for survival."

Public transport was halted, schools, banks and government offices were shut and garbage was piling up on streets on the second day of a two-day nationwide strike, called to protest against the vote.

Backed by the leftist opposition, unions say the measures will hit the poor and spare the wealthy, while deepening a five-year recession that has wiped out a fifth of the country's output and driven unemployment to a record 25 percent.

(Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris,; Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Syria Air Strikes

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Modi's U.S. Visit

Modi's U.S. Visit

Modi to observe strict fast during maiden trip to U.S.  Full Article 

Tiger Attack

Tiger Attack

White tiger kills schoolboy in New Delhi zoo .  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ever-present endemic Ebola now major concern for disease experts.  Full Article 

Final Swipe

Final Swipe

Afghanistan's Karzai criticises U.S., Pakistan in farewell speech.  Full Article 

Iran-Saudi Relations

Iran-Saudi Relations

Iran's Rouhani says ties with Saudis deserve to be warmer.  Full Article 

Terrorism Charges

Terrorism Charges

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S. prison.  Full Article 

Brazil Politics

Brazil Politics

Brazil's Rousseff edges ahead of Silva in election poll.  Full Article 

Prison Camps

Prison Camps

Kerry tells North Korea to shut 'evil system' of prison camps.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage