The Financial Times reports Athens passes demanded austerity bill.

Greek lawmakers on Thursday approved a tough austerity package aimed at averting a default, but the vote was overshadowed by violent street protests in central Athens and dozens of arson attacks against shops and banks.

The legislation passed by 199 votes in favour to 74 against, a convincing majority for Lucas Papademos, the caretaker prime minister who has been given the job of pushing through painful reforms demanded by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in return for a second €130bn bail-out.

Athens Burning: Tens of Banks in Flames

From the Greek Streets reports Athens, the long night of February 12: “burning and looting tonight”

Tens of banks and other buildings are burning across Athens after today’s demonstrations. There are huge riots in Thessaloniki and Patra as well. The situation seems to be spiralling out of control. We will try to summarise key developments through the night, below: …..

23.10 GMT+2 It is entirely impossible to estimate the number of people who have taken to the streets in Athens tonight. They are definitely in the hundreds of thousands – there are simply people everywhere.

23.07 GMT+2 The building of Marfin bank (the same building where three bank workers died on May 5, 2010) has been burnt to the ground.

23.05 GMT+2 A gun shop in Omonoia, Athens, has been looted.

23.02 GMT+2 Information about the alleged occupation of the town hall is confirmed: a group of people entered the building, only to be evicted and arrested by riot police a few minutes later.

22.42 GMT+2 The town hall of Athens has allegedly been occupied.

22.40 GMT+2 Police attack and cut off people in the Law school. At least 200 people are trapped inside.

22.30 GMT+2 At least 20 demonstrators and another 30 police have been injured during the day’s clashes.

Promises No Longer Suffice

Earlier today Schaeuble warns Greek promises no longer suffice

Greek promises on austerity measures are no longer good enough because so many vows have been broken and the country that has been a “bottomless pit” has to dramatically change its ways, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

In a hard-hitting interview with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Schaeuble also said it is up to Greece whether the country can stay in the euro zone as part of its efforts to restore its competitiveness.

“The promises from Greece aren’t enough for us anymore,” Schaeuble said. “With a new austerity programme they are going to first have to implement parts of the old programme and save.”

Schaeuble said there was quite a difference between Greece and other euro zone strugglers.

“The Greeks are a special case…The Portuguese government is doing a decent job,” he said, adding that Portugal’s problem is that the country needs more economic growth.

Greece a “Special Case”?

Give it time and Portugal and Spain will follow. Greece is in an economic depression (as are Spain and Portugal), and things are about to get much worse.

Greece’s technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos does not have the support of the people. His support has dwindled to nothing. Moreover, the political parties that passed this bill will not be in power after the next elections (assuming of course there is a next election).

Recall that Papademos is a puppet not voted into office by Greek citizens, but rather an unelected politician forced onto Greeks because he would do what the EMU and IMF want.

Greece is burning in every sense of the word. It is both politically and economically bankrupt yet Europe attempts to extract blood from a dried up turnip.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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