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Man Dies As Greek Austerity Protests Turn Violent

Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on October 20.
Greek police say one person has died after clashes during anti-austerity protests in Athens.

Greek media said the man died in hospital after being injured on the sidelines of a 50,000-strong protest on October 20 outside the Greek parliament, where lawmakers were debating on more austerity measures.

However, the Reuters news agency quoted a Greek government deputy minister as saying that the man died of a heart attack.

The protest degenerated into riots when masked anarchist youths launched a firebomb attack on hundreds of communist unionists tasked with maintaining order during the demonstration.

One central Athens hospital said it had treated 74 people injured in the clashes.

The protest capped a 48-hour general strike called by unions against the government's stringent economic policies.

The austerity measures are required in order for Greece to receive an 8 billion-euro installment from its European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package and avoid bankruptcy.

On October 19, some 100,000 people demonstrated in Athens against the plan, which includes tax hikes, pay cuts, and jobs losses.

The anti-austerity protests come as Greece is paralyzed by a two-day general strike that has shut down services, halted flights and ferries, and closed banks, schools, and shops.

Authorities said 50 police officers were injured when protesters clashed with police on October 19 during the rallies.

Parliament was expected to take a final vote on the austerity plan on October 20 after the plan received initial approval one day earlier.

compiled from agency reports