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Riots in Greece have engulfed central Athens with at least 10 buildings going up in flames amid mass protests. The clashes occurred as lawmakers prepared for a historic parliamentary vote on austerity measures needed to secure another vital bailout.
A petrol bomb explodes at riot police during a huge anti-austerity demonstration in Athens' Syntagma (Constitution) square February 12, 2012. February 12, 2012.
The disturbance erupted after more than 100-thousand protesters marched to parliament to rally against drastic austerity cuts that will axe one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.
Riot police fired tear gas volleys at rioting youths, who attacked them with firebombs, fireworks and chunks of marble smashed off the fronts of luxury hotels, banks and department stores.
Several protesters and police have been injured while an unspecified number of suspected rioters are now being detained.
The new cutbacks, which follow two years of harsh income losses and tax hikes - amid a deep recession and record high unemployment - have been demanded by Greece’s bailout creditors in return for a new batch of vital rescue loans.
Since May 2010, Greece has survived on a 110 billion euro bailout from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund.