Posted by Abdul Alim
(Reuters) – Greeks swept rocks and broken glass from the streets of Athens on Monday after a night of violence that gave lawmakers a taste of the challenge they face in implementing a deeply unpopular austerity bill demanded by the country’s foreign lenders.
Firefighters doused the smoldering remains of several buildings, set ablaze by hooded youths during protests against the package of pay, pension and job cuts adopted by parliament on Sunday after 10 hours of debate.
The bill was the price of a 130 billion euro ($172 billion) EU/IMF bailout to save Greece from a chaotic default next month.
The government of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos must come up with a further 325 million euros in budget savings to satisfy euro zone financeministers, scheduled to meet on Wednesday, and political leaders must commit to implementing the measures even after an election penciled in for April.
Papademos’ government saw 43 deputies rebel in what may be an indication of the difficulties in ensuring politicians stick to the program, which include a 22 percent cut in the minimum wage — a package critics say condemns the economy to an ever-deeper downward spiral.