Athens: Clashes broke out in Greece on Wednesday ahead of a crucial vote on a government austerity bill in Parliament.
Groups of hooded youth pelted rocks and petrol bombs at police who responded by firing tear gas. Some 100,000 demonstrators gathered near Parliament to protest the measures.
The debate on the bill was disrupted as parliamentary staff joined a nationwide strike in protest of last minute amendment introducing supplementary cuts on their salaries.
Their mobilisation is unlikely to affect the vote, as emergency staff would take over under the Constitution, Xinhua reported. The strike was organised by trade unions.
Despite mounting pressure, the bill containing EUR 13.5 billion (USD 17.3 billion) in fresh austerity measures to be implemented up to 2015, is expected to narrowly pass with 154-157 votes in the 300-member Parliament, analysts said.
Critics of the package warned that it will deepen recession and prolong the pain of Greek people.