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New Greek austerity Bill passed

Greek's parliament has passed a deeply resented austerity Bill that has led to violent protests on the streets of Athens, despite some dissent from one Socialist politician.

The new measures include pay and staff cuts in the civil service as well as pension cuts and tax hikes for all Greeks. The Bill passed by majority vote in the 300-member parliament.

Former labour minister Louka Katseli voted against one article that scales back collective labour bargaining rights.

She voted in favour of the overall Bill, but prime minister George Papandreou expelled her from the party's parliamentary group, cutting his majority to 153.

The vote came after violent demonstrations on the streets of the capital left one person dead and 74 injured.

Tear gas choked the air in Syntagma Square as riot police tried to separate more than 50,000 peaceful protesters from smaller groups determined to cause havoc.

The scene degenerated into running battles between groups of protesters beating each other and between helmeted, heavily armed police and masked rioters.

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From Belfast Telegraph