ATHENS, Greece — Greek anger over new austerity measures and layoffs erupted into violence outside parliament on Wednesday, as demonstrators threw stones and gasoline bombs and riot police responded with tear gas.
Wednesday was the first day of a two-day general strike that unions described as the largest protests in years. The labor action, which grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down shops and schools, comes ahead of a parliamentary vote Thursday on new tax increases and spending cuts.
International creditors have demanded the reforms before they give Greece its next infusion cash. Greece says it will run out of money in a month without the euro8 billion ($11 billion) bailout money from its partners that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund.
Most of the 100,000 or so protesters that converged in central Athens marched peacefully, but crowds outside of parliament clashed with police who tried to disperse them with tear gas. Some people set fire to a presidential sentry post.
Nearby, groups of protesters tore chunks of marble off building fronts with hammers and crowbars and smashed windows and bank signs. Many of those involved in the violence wore black clothes with hoods, masks or motorcycle helmets. Vendors sold swimming goggles to rioters, who used them to ward off the tear gas.
Thousands of people watched the skirmishes, some standing on kiosk roofs to get a better view. Trash was strewn around the streets, and some protesters set clumps of it on fire.