PATRICK MCGROARTY IN BERLIN AND ALKMAN GRANITSAS IN ATHENS
The Greek parliament approved a €4.8 billion ($6.52 billion) austerity package, seen as a prelude to any European Union aid for Greece, even as thousands of union members protested the measures on the streets outside.
The vote came after six hours of heated debate, and as Prime Minister George Papandreou embarks on a five-day tour of foreign capitals to convince fellow EU leaders to back Greece as it faces one of its worst economic crises in its modern history.
Outside parliament, a tense protest of several thousand people was marred by violence when youths attacked and injured the head of Greece's largest union, private-sector GSEE, as he was delivering a speech at a rally. There were also clashes in two separate, small-scale incidents in which several dozen protesters scuffled with police, hurling projectiles while police responded with teargas.
In a nod to the protests and strike actions taking place around the country, Greece's finance minister acknowledged that public discontent was understandable.
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