30 Jun 2011

Greek politicians to vote on measures that sparked riots

6:29 am on 30 June 2011

Greek politicians are to vote on Wednesday on austerity measures that have sparked nationwide strikes and serious rioting in Athens.

Prime Minister George Papandreou has said that only his €28 billion austerity plan will get Greece back on its feet.

The package is expected to be approved by parliament by a narrow margin, but BBC correspondents in Athens say it is unlikely to bring an end to the unrest.

If it is not approved, Greece could run out of money within weeks.

Parliament is scheduled to finish debating the bill at 1300 local time with the vote taking place some time after.

Greek officials say 46 people were injured in the capital on Tuesday, including 37 policemen, after an anti-cuts rally turned violent.

Police used tear gas against groups of youths in the streets around parliament, and arrested at least 14 people.

The roads of the capital were left strewn with broken paving stones and other debris after the first day of a 48-hour general strike against the planned austerity measures.

Greece's austerity package and its implementation law must be passed in separate votes later on Wednesday and on Thursday for the next instalment of the country's €110 billion bail-out to be released by the European Union and IMF.

If passed, European officials will also start to finalise the details of a second bail-out - worth an estimated €120 billion - designed to help Greece pay its debts until the end of 2014.