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Updated: March 5, 2010 20:42 IST

Greek parliament approves austerity plan

AP
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A general view of a protest in central Athens on Friday. Some 3,000 Communist-affiliated union members protested peacefully outside parliament. Photo: AP.
A general view of a protest in central Athens on Friday. Some 3,000 Communist-affiliated union members protested peacefully outside parliament. Photo: AP.

Greek lawmakers have approved an austerity package to save euro4.8 billion ($6.52 billion) in budget costs and help reduce the country’s crushing debt load.

The legislation was approved on Friday by voice vote, in which lawmakers respond verbally without casting a ballot, while protestors clashed with riot police in the streets outside parliament.

The measures include increases in consumer taxes, and cuts in public sector workers’ pay of up to 8 percent.

The cutbacks are key in convincing bond markets to lend Greece money at less restrictive rates than it is now paying, and to win support from the European Union.

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