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Greece unions strike to halt austerity plan

ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's Parliament narrowly passed a crucial austerity bill early Thursday, in a vote that left the coalition government reeling from dissent as it struggles to secure vital bailout funds.

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 riot police who responded with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon.

Flights to and from the country stopped for three hours at the start of the 48-hour strike and national protests that closed schools, halted train and ferry services, and left Athens without public transport or taxis while state hospitals ran on emergency staff.

-- AP


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