Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Package The action triggered large-scale street protests, but it paves the way for the country to get bailout loans that will prevent an imminent default on its obligations.
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Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Package

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Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Package

Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Package

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And we begin this hour with the news out of Greece, which is causing both fury and relief; fury at home after the Greek Parliament voted in favor of a highly unpopular package of austerity measures. They include a solidarity levy on income, a hike in property taxes, plus big cuts in education, health and defense spending.

BLOCK: Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF DEMONSTRATION)

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

POGGIOLI: Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign language spoken)

POGGIOLI: The demonstration begins peacefully but soon turns violent, as police clash with groups of provocateurs and unleashed canisters of powerful teargas on the crowds.

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSIONS)

POGGIOLI: Here's a simultaneous translation.

GEORGE PAPANDREOU: (Through Translator) There is no plan B for Greece. At least I can say that there is no plan B in favor of Greece. And if we collapse like the others our creditors will just think about themselves, not about ourselves. There are two options - the tough path of change and the easy way of disaster. With your vote, you can give Greece a historical opportunity, a historical chance.

POGGIOLI: Lawmakers of the ruling Socialist Party applaud, but here in the cafe, the prime minister has not convinced somber-looking photographer Sotiris Papaemmanouil.

SOTIRIS PAPAEMMANOUIL: I think we have to stop taking money from Europe. We have to face the new situation. We are closing our stores. We are losing our jobs, and there is no future. No future.

POGGIOLI: She says the government thinks it's going to begin implementing the new austerity measures in a few weeks.

CALLIOPE IRIS: But the people here, they are all are saying this is not going to happen. It's not going to be implemented. We are going to go through major civil disobedience.

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Athens.

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