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Thousands hold anti-austerity demonstration in Athens

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Greek protesters shout slogans during a demonstration outside the parliament in Athens on March 30, 2014.

Thousands of people in Greece have held a protest rally outside the parliament in the capital Athens against government’s austerity measures.

Over 12,000 people rallied in the capital on Sunday ahead of the parliament vote on a bill for fresh international loans.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the bill required by the country’s troika of international lenders — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — despite public dissatisfaction and eleventh-hour attempts to delay voting by the opposition.

The legislation will unlock for Greece over 11.7 billion dollars. However, the country’s main opposition, Golden Dawn party, slammed the vote. Syriza communists, who are the second largest opposition party in Greece also slammed the vote.

Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras, who described the new bill as “a crime committed against the people and our country,” blamed Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras for being “the main administrator of the death contract against Greek society.”

“You are passing a sweeping 600-pages multi-bill with which you are signing away the banking system and you are abolishing labor rights and the public insurance system,” Tsipras said.

Greek officials are willing to have the bill ratified before meetings with European Union finance ministers in Athens on Tuesday to officially conclude the agreement for the new tranche of the international loans by the second half of April.

Greece has been at the epicenter of debt crisis in the eurozone and has so far experienced seven years of recession.

Since 2010, the national health, education and local government budgets have been cut down by some 40 percent and so have wages and pensions.


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