13 Sep 2010

Protest over Greece austerity plan

11:16 am on 13 September 2010

Thousands of people have protested in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki against further government spending cuts.

The protests, organised by unions, were largely peaceful though police used tear gas on a small group which broke away from the rally.

On Friday, the government said there would be further austerity measures and Prime Minister George Papandreou, who is attending a trade fair in Thessaloniki, has said he is not going to give up on his government's austerity plans.

The centre-left government imposed a tough austerity programme in May in return for a 110 billion-euro bail-out from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, which helped it stave off bankruptcy.

Official figures published earlier this week showed the contraction of the Greek economy is accelerating and is expected to shrink by 4% this year, the BBC reports.

Inflation has also reached 5.5% - its highest level in more than a decade - and more than half a million people were officially out of work in June.