– Greek Parliament Backs Austerity as Rioters Burn Buildings (Bloomberg, Feb. 13, 2012):
Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won parliamentary approval for austerity measures to secure an international bailout after rioters protesting the measures battled police and set fire to buildings in downtown Athens.
Police said 45 buildings were set on fire in arson attacks in central Athens last night by anti-austerity protesters including a Starbucks Corp. cafe and a bank. The blazes were near a bank that was set on fire in May 2010, killing three employees during a general strike against Greece’s first bailout package.
Demonstrators tore up marble in front of parliament that they hurled with fire-bombs at police guarding the chamber. Officers in riot gear responded with tear-gas and flash grenades. Fifty officers were injured in the violence, police spokesman Takis Papapetropoulos said by telephone. The Greek Health Ministry said in an e-mailed statement that 70 people had been taken to local hospitals. Police said 67 rioters were arrested.
“Vandalism, violence and repression have no place in democracy and won’t be tolerated,” Papademos told lawmakers before the vote. “In such critical times we have no luxuries for such conflict.”
– Greek prime minister warns of ‘uncontrolled chaos’ if country defaults (Telegraph, Feb. 10, 2012):
Lucas Papademos, prime minister, struggled to maintain order in parliament ahead of Sunday’s crucial vote on the budget plans which he needs to win to secure Greece’s €130bn (£109bn) bail-out.
Six ministers resigned in protest over the budget plans, which include tough spending and pension cuts, that were approved on Thursday by political leaders.
Late on Friday night, the remaining memebers of the cabinet approved the draft bill of austerity measures which the country’s parliament will vote on on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, George Karatzaferis, leader of Greek far right in coalition, walked out of the national unity government saying he would refuse to vote on Sunday. Although his party cannot block the vote, his stance rattled European markets.
“Humiliation was imposed on us. I will not tolerate this… no matter how hungry I might be,” he said. “Greece must not and cannot be outside the EU. But it can do without the German boot.”