Protesters threw flaming Molotov cocktails and pelted police with stones during clashes outside the Greek parliament, to oppose further austerity measures that lawmakers later agreed to. Thousands of people demonstrated, most of them peacefully, in Athens and in the country's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, it was reported on Sunday (8 May).
The pension and tax laws, which have since been voted through following the protests which ended in violence, will unlock an international bailout of 5bn euros (£4bn). But the conditions to pensions and tax laws are seen as the toughest reforms yet for the nation. The bill got the backing of 153 lawmakers of the ruling Syriza/Independent Greeks government coalition, while all opposition parties in the 300-member Parliament voted against the move, the AP reported.
The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, called for the vote ahead of an emergency meeting among eurozone finance ministers on Monday 9 May.
Greek finance minister Euclid Tskalotos had warned his eurozone counterparts that Greece could become a failed state if Brussels pushed it too hard.
"Nobody should believe that another Greek crisis, leading perhaps to another failed state in the region, could be beneficial to anyone. There is no way that such a package can be passed by the current government, or by any democratic government that I can imagine," he wrote in a letter, according to the Guardian.
In a show of unhappiness at the country's economic woes, it follows a three-day general strike which hit public transport and slowed the public sector and the media. Athens has received more than €250bn in bailout funds in the biggest financial rescue programme in history.