Greece protests austerity measures [PHOTOS, VIDEO]


A demonstrator jumps during protests against austerity measures in Athens, June 28, 2011. (YIORGOS KARAHALIS/REUTERS)

Greek police fired tear gas at the demonstrators, and the protesters threw rocks in retaliation. No casualties were visible.

The protesters gathered in Syntagma Square outside the Greek Parliament building in the center of the capital, where lawmakers will vote Wednesday on an austerity package of tax increases and spending cuts.

Watch a live stream of the protests below:

Police in riot gear set up barricades outside the Parliament building. Most of Greece’s transportation systems were halted, and hospitals were barely opened. Government offices, schools, and courts have closed.

But thousands of marchers still gathered, with members of the communist PAME labor union waving signs that read “No sacrifices for plutocracy,” and chanting, “Workers, you can live without a boss.”

Two larger unions launched their efforts around noon.

The Greek defense minister, Panos Beglitis, has warned of a “catastrophe” if Parliament does not approve the austerity package. Greece must pass the package if it is to receive bailout funds from the E.U. and IMF and stave off a possible default.

Greeks and journalists tweeted updates from the Syntagma Square, using the hashtag #Syntagma

One journalist tweeted: “This protest ended the way all protests end -- street fights btn police + anarcho-leftists. Yet portrayed as mass Athens riot.”

Others wrote:

Police teargasing front and sidestreets of parliament,people forming human chain to draw away rioters&police. #Syntagma #greekrevolutionless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet ReplyJanine Louloudi
janinel83

Fire crew arrives at last to tackle satellite van, further bursts of teargas above in front of the #Greek parliament, #Syntagma sq in chaosless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet ReplyTony Connelly
tconnellyRTE

More photos of the protests below:


A general view of Syntagma Square shows a burning telecoms relay van during protests against austerity measures in Athens, June 28, 2011. (YIORGOS KARAHALIS/REUTERS)

A demonstrator kicks back a tear gas canister during a demo in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

A demonstrator walks by a burning umbrella during a demo in Athens on Tuesday June 28, 2011. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

Black-clad demonstrators confront police during protests against austerity measures in Athens, June 28, 2011. (YIORGOS KARAHALIS/REUTERS)

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