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Demonstrators throw fire bombs at riot police during violent protests in central Athens February 12, 2012. Thousands of demonstrators clashed with police as the Greek parliament prepared to vote on a new and deeply unpopular EU/IMF austerity deal, to secure a 130 billion euro bailout, aimed at saving Greece from bankruptcy and what Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned would be "uncontrollable economic chaos."
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Athens following the approval of $4 billion of budget cuts by Greece’s Parliament on Monday.
The trimmings include deep wage reductions, pension cuts, and the elimination of 15,000 jobs. Parliament pushed through the austerity measures to secure financial rescue backed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. If the cutbacks had not been approved, foreign creditors may have withheld support from Greece, which would have potentially devastated the already struggling Greek economy. Internationally, if Greece were to default on its debt, it could have severe repercussions on the European and U.S. economies. While some see the severe budget tightening as unavoidable, many Greek citizens rioted in reaction, setting dozens of buildings on fire and skirmishing with police. Of the more than 110 structures damaged, nine were listed as national heritage buildings.
How will these budget cuts impact Greece on a long-term basis? How supportive are the EU and the IMF of Greece during its debt crisis?
Matthew Dalton, Euro-Zone Debt Crisis Reporter, Wall Street Journal
Elisabeth Fotiadou, Consul General of Greece
Alex Mizan, executive director, The American Hellenic Council