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Banking System FAIL: Police, protesters clash as unrest grips Athens over IMF cutbacks

Greek police fired tear gas on youths Saturday as marchers swarmed through central Athens to protest unprecedented austerity cuts needed for EU and IMF loans worth as much as 120 billion euros.

Thousands of protestors used traditional May Day marches to vent popular anger against deep budget cuts the government has promised in the face of a debt crisis that pushed the country to the brink of default.

Anti-riot forces used tear gas to contain several isolated clashes on the margins of the marches, which police said drew 15,000 people.

Tear gas was also fired in the northern city of Thessaloniki where about 5,000 people demonstrated, also according to police.

The protests piled fresh pressure on the government as it raced to wrap up negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to slash spending and raise taxes in return for the desperately needed loans.

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