Bank fire kills three in Greek protest

Bank fire kills three in Greek protest
# 05 May 2010 15:29 (UTC +04:00)
Athena - APA. At least three people have died after a fire broke out at a bank during riots in Athens, fire officials say, APA reports.
Crowds of angry Greek demonstrators are clashing with police across Athens Wednesday as thousands of people protest proposed government spending cuts aimed at saving the country from bankruptcy.
One group of protesters tried to storm Greece’s parliament, hurling paving stones and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas.

"They are wearing bicycle helmets and motorcycle helmets, and some people we talked to yesterday told us they were going to bring tomatoes to throw at the government buildings."
The general strike paralyzed the country’s transportation system as transport workers walked off the job, leaving planes, trains and ferries sitting idle. A large number of schools, hospitals and businesses were also closed.
The transport workers joined thousands of civil servants who had launched their own strike Tuesday. The protesters are lashing out against a government plan to impose a number of austerity measures — including cuts to pensions, wage freezes and tax increases — to qualify for a $147-billion rescue package of loans from the International Monetary Fund and the euro countries. The bill is set to be voted into law by the end of the week. Prime Minister George Papandreou’s Socialists hold a comfortable majority of 160 in the 300-seat parliament. With a simple majority of 151 votes needed, the bill is expected to pass easily. With hundreds of billions in debt and a budget deficit of 13.6 per cent of gross domestic product, Greece has been struggling to put its finances in order. It was less than three weeks away from defaulting when the euro zone finance ministers agreed Sunday to activate the rescue. Athens needs to see the first instalment of funds before May 19, when it has more than $11 billion worth of bonds due.
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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED