Clashes in Athens as Greece bailout promise fails to quell anti-austerity anger

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Police in Athens intervened with tear gas to prevent a splinter group of left-wing protesters from marching on a meeting of EU finance ministers.

The skirmishes broke out towards the end of a rally against what demonstrators called “troika orchestrated austerity”.

The earlier peaceful protest came as eurozone ministers said Greece would soon start receiving its next bailout instalment of 8.3 billion euros.

They recognise that austerity has hit hard, but at least one protester was having none of it.

‘‘The policies of the EU and the Troika are driving Greek people mad. Workers rights are abolished, pay and pensions are drastically cut. We won’t accept it,” he said.

The loan will be distributed in three parts, with the first 6.3 billion euros paid at the end of April.

Payouts of one billion euros each will be made in June and July, linked to the implementation of targets to which Greece has agreed.

Our correspondent in Athens Stamatis Giannisis said: ‘‘After four years of austerity Greece’s international economic profile is improving fast, but this by no means marks the end of public protest, as workers and pensioners have suffered a dramatic drop both in their incomes and their standard of living.”

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