ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest on Greece’s financial crisis (all times local):
Greece’s Parliament has approved an austerity bill demanded by bailout creditors, despite a significant level of dissent from the governing leftist Syriza party.
The bill to impose sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts was approved with the support of three pro-European opposition parties.
Several prominent members of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ ruling party voted against his recommendation, including Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
Eurozone rescue lenders demanded the fresh round of cuts in a deal reached this week to place Greece in a new bailout program.
Dissenters argued that Greeks could not face any more cuts after six years of recession that saw a sharp rise in poverty and unemployment.
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has voted against the government in a critical austerity bill vote.
Varoufakis, who was replaced earlier this month, led negotiations with bailout creditors for months after Greece’s left-wing was formed in late January.
But he has recently criticized Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras over a draft agreement reached this week for a massive new international rescue deal.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he had no choice but to accept tough terms with creditors, ahead of a critical vote on a new austerity package and bailout deal.
“We had a very specific choice: A deal we largely disagreed with, or a chaotic default,” he told parliament.
Tsipras received a standing ovation from his party but is facing a revolt in his own party against the bill, and is likely to rely on opposition backing to pass it.
Party members, including members of his own Cabinet, have vowed to oppose the deal.
Police say about 50 protesters have been detained during hour-long clashes outside Parliament.
The violence involved about 200 youths who hurled firebombs and rocks at riot police, and smashed office windows and set fire to trash bins.
Many of the mask-wearing protesters carried wooden bats and pieces of smashed paving stones, in the worst clashes seen since Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing government was formed six months ago.
The clashes died down as a debate got underway in parliament on a new austerity bill.
Earlier, more than 10,000 people, supporters of left-wing groups and a Communist-backed trade union, staged a peaceful rally in central Athens.
Germany says the idea that basic human rights in Greece might suffer because of austerity imposed by the country’s creditors is “fanciful.”
Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, an independent U.N. expert on foreign debt, says Greece’s creditors may break international law if the conditions they impose on Athens lead to undue hardship.
Greece has seen drastic cuts to public services and a rise in unemployment and homelessness because of austerity measures introduced in recent years.
German Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Wednesday that he couldn’t see evidence of human rights being ignored by Berlin.
Jaeger declined to say whether German officials had made or are making any attempt to ensure the demands on Greece are compatible with human rights law.
Clashes have broken out at an anti-austerity rally by thousands of protesters outside Parliament in Athens.
Riot police used pepper spray and tear gas Wednesday night to fight back youths in the crowd who were hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks at police.
Police said about 12,500 people were at the rally at Syntagma Square. The clashes broke out just as lawmakers were starting to debate an austerity bill that includes consumer tax increases and pension reforms.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has faced strident opposition to the bill from his own radical left Syriza party, says it’s the best possible deal he could get to prevent Greece from being forced out of Europe’s joint euro currency.
Thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators are marching through Athens for a rally outside of Parliament ahead of a debate and vote on a new austerity bill that Greece must pass before it can start negotiations with creditors on a third bailout.
Lawmakers are to vote on the tax increases and pension reforms — but the vote could be held after midnight Wednesday.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing strident opposition to the bill from his own radical left Syriza party, where members are furious at his backtracking on party promises to repeal austerity. Tsipras has insisted this was the best possible deal to prevent Greece from being forced out of Europe’s joint euro currency.
Greece’s parliament speaker has called a meeting that is delaying a Parliament debate on austerity cuts demanded by creditors.
Parliament Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou has called a chairmen’s conference — a meeting of the speaker, her deputies and committee chairmen — pushing back the expected start of Wednesday night’s austerity debate for more than two
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