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Saturday 20th
posted by Morning Star in World

RIOTS broke out in Athens on Thursday night as parliament surrendered to new EU austerity demands.

All 153 MPs in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syrizaled coalition voted in favour of the measures, which include further pension cuts and lowering of the threshold at which income tax becomes payable.

All 128 opposition MPs present in the 300-seat parliament opposed the legislation in a vote just before midnight.

Deputy Finance Minister George Houliarakis called the measures a “necessary compromise” with creditors’ demands. “This is the only road map that guarantees … the country’s exit from the great Greek recession,” he said.

Earlier, some 15,000 protesters gathered outside parliament in a demonstration called by trade unions, which staged a general strike on Wednesday against the latest capitulation to Brussels.

Some demonstrators threw petrol bombs at police guarding the approaches to the building.

They were repulsed with tear gas, and police said one man had been arrested and two more taken into custody on suspicion of taking part in the violence.

The new cuts, which will last well into 2020 and the next parliament, were demanded by EU creditors in return for the latest tranche of the bailout agreed in 2015 — the third such package in seven years.

Without that money, Greece faces a default on its debt repayments in July.

“Now the ball is in our creditors’ court,” Mr Tsipras said after the vote. “We expect, and are entitled to, a decision at Monday’s meeting that will adjust the Greek public debt in a way that matches the Greek people’s sacrifices.”