Greece erupts in violence with POLICE OFFICERS fighting and trying to storm parliament

Thousands took to the streets in protest – including mobs of militant youths alongside police officers – as riot police were forced to be deployed en masse to try and contain the bubbling cauldron of anarchy. 

The Mediterranean country has been gripped by demonstrations, walkouts and fighting as the country grapples with chaotic civil unrest over austerity measures. 

Police officers on strike over cuts to the pay took to the capital, Athens, and attempted to storm parliament. 

Guards tasked with defending the heart of democracy were forced to battle with the officers amid the driving rain. 

Riot police, who were not on strike, were stationed throughout the city as the first line of defence against the demonstrators. 

The violent protests, which saw thousands of civil servants descending on Athens to march through capital, follows a 24 hour walkout. 

Public services were crippled with public transport, maritime traffic and commercial fights ground to a halt. 

Hospitals were forced to run on emergency staff, and shops and business shut. 

The unrest came as the parliament voted on another package of austerity measures which will unlock a third bail-out from the EU. 

The leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rubber-stamped the deal, which will see Greece find €4.9billion (£3.9bn) in cuts from 2018-2021.

Greece is hoping the loan repayments will be approved by a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on May 22.

All 153 members of Mr Tsipras’ party voted in favour of the package, with 128 against from the opposition and 19 absentees. 

But the population is rejecting another round of austerity to prop up the beleaguered economy, which will see tax increased and pensions slashed for another three years.

They have already seen pensions squeezed for the 15th time since bailouts began in 2010.

Alekos Perrakis, a senior member of Communist union PAME, said: “We want to send a decisive message to the government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that we will not let them cut up our lives.”

Greece bore the brunt of the financial crash of 2008 and is yet to recover, continually requiring bail-outs to stay afloat. 

Its EU-IMF creditors demand more savings be found to access the much-needed funds, with debt repayments coming up in July. 

Greek debt currently stands at around 180 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product).

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