ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s Parliament passed a crucial austerity bill early today in vote so close that it left the coalition government reeling from dissent.
The bill, which will further slash pensions and salaries, passed 153-128 in the 300-member Parliament. It came hours after rioters rampaged outside Parliament during an 80,000-strong anti-austerity demonstration, clashing with police who responded with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons.
Approval of the cuts and tax increases worth 13.5 billion euros over two years was a big step for Greek efforts to secure the next installment of its international rescue loans and stave off imminent bankruptcy.
Ahead of the vote, tens of thousands of protesters braved torrential rain to shout anti-austerity slogans. The rally eventually turned violent outside Parliament, with hundreds of rioters hurling gasoline bombs and chunks of marble at police. Clouds of tear gas rose from central Syntagma Square as the police fought back.