Thousands March In Greece Ahead Of Austerity Vote

world | Oct 20, 2011 | By RFE/RL 

Some 20,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Greek parliament as legislators prepared to hold a vote on a new austerity plan.

The austerity measures are required in order for Greece to receive an 8 billion-euro installment from its European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package and avoid bankruptcy.

On October 19, some 100,000 people demonstrated in Athens against the plan, which includes tax hikes, pay cuts, and jobs losses.

The anti-austerity protests come as Greece is paralyzed by a two-day general strike that has shut down services, halted flights and ferries, and closed banks, schools, and shops.

Authorities said 50 police officers were injured when protesters clashed with police on October 19 during the rallies.

Parliament was expected to take a final vote on the austerity plan on October 20 after the plan received initial approval one day earlier.

compiled from agency reports

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