Greek Parliament approves new austerity measures

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Associated Press

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's Parliament has narrowly approved a new batch of austerity measures, including thousands of public-sector job cuts and transfers, demanded by the country's creditors to keep vital bailout loans flowing.

Lawmakers backed the cutbacks in an article-by-article vote Thursday, despite initial dissent by a handful of governing lawmakers.

It was the first major test for conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras since a left-wing party abandoned his coalition government last month.

Some 3,000 people protested peacefully outside Parliament in central Athens ahead of the vote, chanting anti-austerity slogans.

The crucial vote came hours before a visit to Athens by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, planned amid security measures that Greece's left-wing main opposition party denounced as "fascist and undemocratic."

The measures include a ban of all demonstrations in the city center.

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