Greece Anti-Austerity Demonstrations Turn Violent As Citizens Brace For Additional Tax Burden [Video]

Anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece resulted in clashes between the protesters and riot police.

The demonstrations, organized to voice the opposition to even more stringent taxation, turned violent after firebombs thrown by anti-austerity protesters exploded in front of Greece’s parliament. The people were quite upset about the new bailout deal Greece had signed around 2 a.m. on Thursday. The Parliament seems to have approved steep tax hikes and increased spending cuts over the next three years, as demanded by the country’s creditors, for its latest bailout.

The bailout, amounting to 86 billion euros ($94 billion) is bound to hurt local citizens. But Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Eurozone counterparts agreed on even tougher reforms on Monday in order to accord a new rescue for Greece’s current financial debacle, reported the Associated Press. This, despite the fact that the Greek citizenry had voted a resounding “No” to the bailout conditions earlier. Needless to say, this step has angered many in his anti-austerity party, and other leftwing supporters.

It isn’t a surprise that more than half of Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party condemned the bill and vowed not to support it. Interestingly, in order for Greece to be eligible for the latest bailout package, meant to save it from certain debt crisis, the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund have mandated that Tsipras hold his government together in support of the bill, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Speaking about the austerity bill, parliamentary speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou said as follows.

“I respect the prime minister enormously and his stance is one of ultimate selflessness. But parliament must not complete the blackmail [by creditors] that the government has been subject to. We are obligated to ask from the so-called partners to respect democracy … I felt real anger when I heard [German chancellor Angela] Merkel announcing what and how the Greek parliament will vote.”

To protest the brutal taxation and oppose the passage of the reforms, which many fear is bound to increase suffering in the already debt-laden country, 12,500 people jointly marched to the Parliament building. As lawmakers were approving the unpopular deal inside, dozens of hooded and masked protesters hurled stones at the perceived symbol of financial oppression, as they chanted angrily in Syntagma square.

Realizing the demonstrations could turn violent at any moment, reports indicate police started using pepper spray and tear gas bombs on the protesters who tried to breach a security line blocking off the road to the prime minister’s office.

[Image Credit: Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty Images]