Greek riot police in heightened clashes with Athens protestors

by Tiffany Millar on October 19, 2011

Riot police in Greece have fired tear gas and engaged in running battles with protesting members of the public, amid a 48-hour strike that has completely paralysed the Mediterranean country.

Many protesters hurled petrol bombs at the police after a peaceful march by thousands in the centre of Athens turned violent. The majority of Greeks are furious with the austerity plans that are currently being discussed in parliament.

In order to address the financial woes of the eurozone in general, EU leaders and finance chiefs have flown into Germany. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is going to meet the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in addition to senior officials representing the IMF and the European Central Bank.

Greece continues to struggle with reducing a huge government deficit, which has brought fears that it might default and trigger a crisis that will impact other eurozone countries such as Spain and Italy. Both the EU and the IMF have demanded strict cuts in return for a pair of bailout packages. The meeting in Frankfurt comes just days before high-level talks on the crisis.

The pace of protests across Greece has increased in recent weeks, and lightning strikes across almost every sector of the economy are being carried out on a frequent basis. The latest comes accompanied by mass rallies organised by trade unions, who insist that the demonstrations this week are the largest of 2011.

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