Central Athens burns as Greek parliament debates austerity

By Muriel Kane
Sunday, February 12, 2012 17:05 EDT
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Fires raged in central Athens on Sunday as protesters against the latest Greek austerity deal battled police.

According to Reuters, “The air over Syntagma Square outside parliament was thick with tear gas as riot police fought running battles with youths who smashed marble balustrades and hurled stones and petrol bombs.”

Many businesses were on fire, including a movie theater in a building dating to 1870 and another that was used by the Gestapo during World War II as a torture chamber. Both the sounds of explosions and whiffs of tear gas made their way into parliament.

The deal currently being debated would provide Greece with 130 billion euros to prevent bankruptcy but comes at the cost of a 22% cut in the minimum wage and additional cuts in jobs and pensions, amounting to $4.4 billion in 2012 alone. Government officials claimed that the eventual cost would be far greater if the proposal is not accepted.

“The choice is not between sacrifice and no sacrifices at all, but between sacrifices and unimaginably harsher ones,” Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told parliament.

This video is from CNN, February 12, 2012.

Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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