Athens demonstrators gather ahead of austerity bill vote
Greece’s parliament is poised to vote on a deeply unpopular austerity bill later today as demonstrators gathered to continue their protests after a night of violent clashes with police.
By Fiona Govan, Athens
8:19AM BST 29 Jun 2011
Protesters were congregating in the Greek capital’s Syntagma Square early Wednesday to blockade the parliament building in an attempt to prevent access by lawmakers.
Hundreds of police dressed in riot gear were lining up around the building and had blocked off roads ahead of what was expected to be another day of chaotic protests.
The new austerity measures must be passed in a two-part vote on Wednesday and Thursday if Greece’s international creditors are to release the next €12 billion batch of the country’s €110 billion bail-out fund and prevent a default that could drag down European banks and shake the European and world economy.
Prime Minister George Papandreou should be able to pass the midterm economic plan as his socialist party holds a majority of five seats but there have been grumblings of dissent within his own ranks.
Voting by the 300 deputies was expected to begin early afternoon.