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'Rage and disgust': Thousands protest Greek cuts

msnbc.com news services report from ATHENS, Greece:

Greek police deployed in strength Wednesday to prevent thousands of anti-austerity protesters from blockading Parliament, where the struggling government will launch a debate on new unpopular cutbacks needed to secure international rescue loans.

As a 24-hour general strike got underway, a large part of central Athens was closed to all traffic and pedestrians as police mounted a huge security operation to allow lawmakers access to Parliament by car. Continue reading.

Pascal Rossignol / Reuters

Riot police stand guard near the Greek parliament in Athens as the guard of honur march near the monument of the unknown soldier early on June 15.

Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

Protesters gesture and wave Greek flags in front of the Parliament during a rally against plans for new austerity measures, in central Athens on June 15. A 24-hour anti-austerity strike by Greece's largest labor unions crippled public services Wednesday, as the Socialist government was to begin a legislative battle to push through last-ditch cost-cutting reforms that will extend beyond its own term in office.

Panagiotis Tzamaros / AFP - Getty Images

Riot police confront a protester during a general strike against government austerity plans, in Athens on June 15. Offices were closed and public transport on land and sea across Greece was seriously disrupted early today as a mass general strike got under way.

Panagiotis Tzamaros / AFP - Getty Images

Riot police arrest a protester during a general strike against government austerity plans, in Athens on June 15.