Greek austerity: Views from the street

Huge protests erupted in Athens as Greek MPs voted to accepted tough new austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF in return for a 130bn euro ($170bn; £110bn) bailout.

There were widespread clashes and violent protests were reported in cities across the country.

In Athens, 45 buildings were said to have burnt in the worst rioting for years. Other businesses were looted and badly damaged.

BBC News readers in Greece told us how they felt about their country's problems:

Katerina Zouroufidou, Athens

I was at the protests in Syntagma Square last night. Yesterday, even at 5 o'clock the air was full of chemicals, the police were just using teargas on everyone, even though the protests were peaceful. They were trying to clear Syntagma itself, so we moved to the streets nearby. Everywhere we went there were police throwing teargas.

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Media captionKaterina Zouroufidou, a protester from Athens, filmed the aftermath of the protests

We managed to stay near the parliament for five hours, then they decided to move us just before the parliament was due to vote. The teargassing began again. It was horrible, people were screaming and throwing up. One [tear gas canister] landed by my feet. We couldn't stay.

I am 22 and these measures are unacceptable. How are people supposed to survive without money or jobs? People are dying from the cold here, because they can't afford fuel.

The EU owes us money and we need a moratorium to slowly pay our debts off. We have no money - how can we pay?

Athina Koutroumani, Athens

I am against these measures, and I protest because there is no other way to express ourselves in the economic situation.

There were a lot of old people at the protests. But the police brutality was unprecedented. I was in Syntagma at 6pm on Sunday and they were using teargas on everyone, the air was just full. In the narrow streets, the police were chasing people, and people fighting back. It was chaos.

This crisis is affecting everybody, salaries are going down and family members are losing their jobs, shops are closing down. I think this things will get worse and worse, and I am an optimist.

Dimitris Konstantakos, Thessaloniki

I am lucky, I run an internet business and we have foreign customers, so I am surviving. But I am feeling the pain, because it is frustrating when you can't develop or expand a business here.

The austerity measures are necessary, Greece needs to be competitive to survive. But it should have been done two years ago, when debt was 120% of GDP. This is our target for 2020 and it isn't good enough.

Although reform is badly needed, we have lost our sovereignty. We should have the right to print our own money, instead we borrow from banks at 5% money that they themselves got from the European Central Bank at just 1% interest.

What people see is that the middle class is being increasingly marginalized. We will soon be reaching a condition similar to the states where the 100 wealthiest own as much at the bottom 150 million.

There have been protests here in Thessaloniki too, but maybe not as angry as the ones in Athens. I think that the violence is coming from a small group who the police know but don't stop. Everyone else just wants a Greece that is respected.

Manos Kouroupakis, Athens

I am 45 years old and have protested only once before in my life. But yesterday I had to go to Syntagma Square. My automotive parts business has shrunk 30-40% a year for the past two years. Things are very difficult.

This is totally crazy, both our politicians and EU and IMF are just experimenting upon Greek people to see what will happen. No one cares what happens to us. The government is not fighting corruption, it is fighting ordinary people.

There were thousands there protesting peacefully. The police could easily control violent elements in the beginning but instead of that they teargassed everybody, probably triggering more violence. I had to leave very early with breathing problems.

It is outrageous that there are measures but no plan behind it. Yes, we need to change, but not in just two or three months. It will take years.

A market in a state of fear and blackmail will always be in recession. And of course will never be able to pay the debts. 50% of the businesses here are near closure, unable to pay their taxes and people are afraid that they will not have their jobs tomorrow.

This is a de facto default and under these circumstances we would rather deal with the crisis with our own powers only.

In the end everybody in Greece has admitted their mistakes and we would expect our European allies to admit their mistakes also and give us a hand to help and not hit and punish us.

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