Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Greece votes for five-year austerity plan
June 29, 2011
At 4.39pm on Wednesday the Greek parliament approved a five-year austerity plan that could sink or save the country.
Many hoped the vote might end the saga that has kept Europe – and markets across the world – on tenterhooks over the past week.
But no sooner had the MPs cast their ballots and European Union leaders had welcomed the "landmark" vote, the real drama began outside parliament where another approach to democracy saw protesters battle with riot police. The clashes continued into the early hours as MPs return to parliament today to vote on a law that will speed the austerity measures through parliament.
Teargas filled the air and Syntagma Square, the nerve centre of Greece's new resistance movement, descended into chaos. Within minutes, the plaza resembled a warzone. The detritus of battle lay everywhere with burning barricades, smashed pavements, shattered masonry, looted shops and destroyed kiosks.