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- 22nd February 2012, 05:20 AM #1
Greece braced for bailout protest
22 February 2012 Last updated at 00:12 ETGreece has recently seen the worst rioting in years
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 already been through a massive austerity programme in return for an earlier bailout, and many are angry at the prospect of years more hardship.
Athens last week saw the worst rioting in years after parliament passed the deeply unpopular austerity measures.
More confrontations between protesters and police are expected on Wednesday over the measures demanded by other eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for the rescue.
"Workers in our country refuse to accept the barbarity of the tougher neo-liberal measures that have been extortionately imposed by our creditors," the GSEE private sector trade union warned earlier this week.
"And that is why they will continue and step up their struggle... to block the destruction of our society".
Under Tuesday's agreement hammered out after marathon talks in Brussels:
- Greece will undertake to reduce its debt from 160% of GDP to 120.5% by 2020
- private holders of Greek debt will take losses of 53.5% on the value of their bonds, with the real loss as much as 70%
- eurozone experts will permanently monitor Greece's economic management
- a constitutional change will give priority to debt repayments over the funding of government services
George Papandreou speaking on BBC Hardtalk: ''We will not default and we will not exit the euro''
"What we have is the clear, explicit commitment of our peers that they will support us even after the end of the programme, until Greece returns to the markets," he said.
The country has just over a week to approve a round of spending cuts of more than 3bn euros tied to the bailout.
At Tuesday's cabinet meeting, ministers discussed emergency legislation. A parliamentary vote is expected on Thursday.
The bill proposes cutting the current 751-euro minimum monthly wage by 22%, and also further cuts of pensions, reports say.
Opinion polls suggest that the two parties in the coalition, which currently dominate parliament, are facing huge losses at the next election, scheduled for April.
Continue reading the main storyParties on the far left and far right, which are set to make big gains, are opposed to the bailout deal.
The head of the opposition Communist party has vowed to oppose new cuts.
"We insist on daily struggle to thwart the measures and this struggle cannot be a defensive one," said Aleka Papariga.
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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Article Source : BBC News
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