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Violence Erupts as 2-Day Strike Shuts Down Greece
The Associated Press | October 19, 2011 | 10:59 AM EDT

Demonstrators on Wednesday threw stones and gasoline bombs at police outside parliament during a two-day general strike that unions described as the largest in years.

The protest, which has grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down shops to schools in Greece, comes ahead of a parliamentary vote on a fresh package of tax increases and spending cuts required by international creditors in return for crucial bailout cash.

Without the money from its partners that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund, Greece has said it will run out of money within a month.

Most of the 70,000 or so protesters that have converged in central Athens have marched peacefully, but chaos unfolded outside the parliamentary building as crowds clashed with police who tried to disperse them with tear gas.

Some people set fire to a presidential sentry post.

Nearby, groups of protesters tore chunks of marble off building fronts with hammers and crowbars and smashed windows and bank signs.

In the city of Thessaloniki, protesters smashed the facades of about 10 shops that defied the strike and remained open, as well as five banks and cash machines. Police fired tear gas and threw stun grenades.

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