In Athens violent rioters attack demonstrators
 Tbilisi 12:18 - 21.10.11 «GHN»
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A protester died during an anti-austerity demonstration that turned violent in the Greek capital Thursday, authorities said, hours before lawmakers were to vote on deeply unpopular new cutbacks demanded by creditors to keep Greece afloat.
Violent rioters attacked peaceful demonstrators with firebombs and stones as tens of thousands turned out in Athens. As the second day of a general strike paralyzed the country, more than 50,000 peaceful demonstrators flooded downtown Syntagma Square outside parliament, the scene of violent protests on Wednesday.


Creditors have demanded that Greece pass the extra austerity measures before they give the country more funds from a euro110 billion ($152 billion) bailout loan from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. Greece says it will run out of money in mid-November without the next euro8 billion ($11 billion) installment.
Greek lawmakers on Thursday were voting on details of the proposals, which include putting 30,000 public servants on reduced pay and suspending collective labor contracts.Parliament deputy speaker Anastasios Kourakis announced the death during a debate on the new bill ahead of the final vote later in the evening.


A Communist-backed union participating in the demonstration and guarding the rally identified the casualty as a 53-year-old construction worker and member of the union. It said it did not have the exact details of his death.Initial reports indicated the man felt unwell during the protest and was taken to hospital, where he died of a suspected heart attack. An official announcement from the hospital was expected later in the afternoon.


Communist party supporters taking part in the Thursday's rally set up a cordon in front of parliament to prevent hard-liners from starting fights with police. But they came under repeated attacks by hundreds of masked protesters in motorcycle helmets who threw gasoline bombs and chunks of marble into the crowd.Fights broke out as the Communist party supporters retaliated. Chaos ensued as protesters and masked youths armed with clubs charged each other, and riot police fired volleys of tear gas to separate the two sides.


Running battles between protesters continued well into the afternoon. Groups of youths set mounds of trash on fire, while clouds of acrid tear gas sent protesters scurrying.Stavros Flegas, a doctor, told Skai TV about 30 people had been treated for injuries and breathing problems since the morning.The violence came a day after a massive Athens demonstration by more than 100,000 people also degenerated into a riot, with masked, black-clad protesters attacking riot police, who responded with volleys of stun grenades and tear gas.


AP

 

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