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Greek riot police have fired tear gas and fought battles with protestors in the midst of a 48-hour strike that has shut down the Mediterranean nation.
Many hurled petrol bombs and stones at the police, as a march by tens of thousands of Greeks in central Athens took a violent turn.
The protests were provoked by the Greek government’s latest austerity proposals, many which have now passed an initial vote in parliament.
EU leaders and global finance chiefs met to discuss the eurozone crisis, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy flying to Germany to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior officials from the European Central Bank and IMF.
Greece is “struggling to reduce a huge government deficit amid fears it may default and set off a crisis, engulfing other eurozone countries like Spain and Italy.”
The EU and IMF are demanding the Greeks make difficult cuts to qualify for two bailout packages.
Parliament has green lit a bill outlining more cuts late on Wednesday.
With one round of austerity measures passed, the government is now trying to convince lenders that it is cutting effectively enough while public anger grows over the measures, which includes lay-offs and cuts to pensions and salaries.
The strike, which was organized by both public and private sector unions, effectively paralyzed the nation, closing government departments, businesses, offices and shops.
One striker, university lecturer Yannis Zabetakis, said Greece was like “a taxation Armageddon.”
“The economy is dying. Along with the economy, we are dying. The austerity measures are not working and our best people are being forced to go abroad,” he added.
Read more at BBC News.