Greeks rage on austerity plan

Greeks rage on austerity plan

Prime minister offers to quit

Riot police grapple with a demonstrator near the Greek parliament in Athens on Wednesday. Tens of thousands of grassroots activists and unionists converged on the central Syntagma Square in an anti-austerity protest. Reuters

Senior government sources said Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou told the leader of the conservative opposition he would be willing to step aside if a unity cabinet agreed on a clear plan to meet the terms of an IMF/EU bailout.

“Prime Minister Papandreou talked with (Antonis) Samaras and proposed that if the two agreed on a framework of specific commitments for change in the country and the political system and specific targets, he would be willing to stand down from his office,” one government source said.

The dramatic move came after euro zone finance ministers failed to agree on how to involve private investors in a second financial rescue for highly-indebted Greece, and senior EU officials said that a deal was now unlikely to be reached at a summit next week and was likely to be delayed until mid-July.

Tens of thousands of angry Greeks massed outside parliament to demonstrate rising hostility against draconian spending cuts required to win a second bailout.

Violent clashes

Rioters hurled petrol bombs at the finance ministry and police fired volleys of tear gas in clashes in the main Syntagma Square as protesters tried to stop lawmakers adopting new tax rises, spending cuts and sell-offs of state assets.

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