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Despair as Greek parliament votes to fire thousands of teachers, cops

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

Municipal public school guard Yiorgos Avramidis, 43, is comforted by colleagues in front of a police line guarding the Greek parliament in Athens, late July 17, 2013, as lawmakers vote on a bill to sack public sector workers. Avramidis, who is married with two children of three and six, is one of more than 2,000 public school guards who will lose their jobs.

Orestis Panagiotou / EPA

Municipal employees demonstrate in front of the parliament building in Athens on July 17, 2013.

Greece's shaky coalition government scraped through a vote on Wednesday on a bill to sack public sector workers as thousands chanting anti-austerity slogans protested outside parliament.

After midnight on Wednesday, 153 lawmakers out of the 293 present voted in favor of the bill, whose passage was required to unlock nearly $9.2 billion in aid from European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.

The bill includes deeply divisive plans for a transfer and layoff scheme for 25,000 public workers - mainly teachers and municipal police - that had triggered a week of almost daily marches, rallies and strikes in protest. Read the full story.


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