Despite worsening violence and anti-government protests, Greece's parliament approved austerity measures needed to receive a European bailout.
A peaceful, yet loud, 48-hour strike organized by labor unions has become a violent clash between hooded youths and police in Athens.
On Wednesday, more than 5,000 police amassed outside of parliament during the vote, protecting the building from virulent youth. Protesters set fire to cars and garbage bins in Athens. The central King George Hotel has been evacuated.
Around 30 people attempted to storm the offices of the Finance Ministry near Syntagma Square. The capital city square is outside Greece's parliament building and it has been the rally point for activists during the many protests recently.
There and elsewhere, police fired teargas at demonstrators, many of whom came prepared, donning face masks, gas masks, or with cream on their faces. As they have done in the past, protesters threw stones and bottles at the state troopers. Many tried to pass threw metal barriers that had been constructed by the police.
According to Reuters, Syntagma Square looked like a battle zone.
The protestors were responding to the Greek government's decision to pass austerity measures that will raise around 28 billion euros through civic budget cuts. Under the advice of Prime Minister George Papandreou, Greek MPs passed the austerity measures by 155 votes to 138. The vote assures that Greece will receive a 11 billion euro bailout from the IMF, part of a larger 100 billion euro package.
At least 50 people have been injured in the events so far. Sixteen people have been hospitalized and more than twenty-five arrested.