Police clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs and bottles in central Athens on Wednesday after an anti-government rally as part of a general strike in Greece turned violent.

About 50,000 people joined the union-organised march in central Athens on Wednesday, held during a general strike against new austerity measures planned in the crisis-hit country. Everyone — from shopkeepers and pharmacists to teachers, customs workers and car mechanics — joined the demonstration, seen as a test of public tolerance for more hardship after two years of harsh spending cuts and tax hikes.

As the strike got under way on Wednesday, Greece’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister hammered out a €11.5 billion ($14.87 billion) package of spending cuts demanded by the country’s international lenders.

Greece’s politicians have struggled to come up with more austerity measures that would be acceptable to its rescue creditors, with disagreements arising between the three parties that make up the coalition government. The country has been dependent on international loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since mid-2010. Its lenders have demanded more fiscal reforms if they are to continue issuing more rescue payouts. The next payment of €31 billion hinges on the government agreeing to further cuts.

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