News Column

Thousands Demonstrate as Greek Parliament Approves Bailout

March 21, 2012

The Greek Parliament approved a second international bailout deal early Wednesday after thousands of anti-austerity protesters held peaceful protests against the deal.

Some 213 lawmakers backing the coalition government of socialists and conservatives voted in favor of the new agreement, while 79 voted against.

The rescue package, which combined with a first bailout will reach 172.6 billion euros (226 billion dollars), includes sweeping government spending cuts.

The coalition government was formed in November with the task of securing the new bailout, as well as a deal with private lenders on a 100-billion-euro debt writedown.

Athens is under tight supervision from its international creditors to follow through with its austerity reforms as a condition to receive the bailout money.

Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was expected by the end of next week to schedule national elections, after having fulfilled his mission.

In the capital Athens and the northern port city of Thessaloniki, several thousand Communist party supporters demonstrated against the austerity measures, which include layoffs and the privatization of state companies.

Meanwhile, seamen said they would be calling off further strikes after the second day of their first 48-hour stoppage ends Wednesday morning. The strike had halted all ferry and ship services to and from the Greek islands since Monday.

The seamen's union said it had decided to end the strike after the government offered written guarantees to demands on pension cuts and salaries.



Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH


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