Greece braced for bailout protests


Greece Prez, George Papandreou

Greece is braced for large protests against further budget cuts, following a 130bn-euro (£110bn; $170bn) bailout deal aimed at avoiding bankruptcy.

There are fears of more violence during the rallies called by trade unions as the public mood hardens, a BBC correspondent in Athens says.

Meanwhile the government is finalising emergency legislation demanded by international lenders. It says Greece has avoided a nightmare scenario by agreeing to the bailout.

The country has a week to approve a raft of spending cuts of more than 3bn euros tied to the bailout.

Emergency legislation, discussed by the Greek cabinet on Tuesday night, will be debated by MPs on Wednesday afternoon, although no vote is expected until Thursday.

The bill proposes cutting the current 751-euro minimum monthly wage by 22%, and also further cuts of pensions, reports say.

A key part of the bailout deal – the debt writedown by holders of Greek bonds – will be discussed at committee level before going to a vote by MPs on Thursday.

The protest against measures demanded by the IMF and other eurozone governments has been planned to coincide with Wednesday’s session of parliament.

A week ago, Athens saw its worst rioting in years as MPs passed a series of deeply unpopular austerity measures. Eurozone leaders hailed the deal as a triumph, and said it had saved Greece from going bankrupt.

Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told the BBC’s Hardtalk programme that Greece had made major sacrifices and deserved more respect from international analysts and financial markets. “We have made major sacrifices in Greece,” he said.


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