July 17 - Anger grows in Greece ahead of a parliamentary vote on austerity measures due later on Wednesday and ahead of a visit by German finance minister Wolfgang Shaeuble. Kirsty Basset reports.
Police officers take to the streets of Athens. Their jobs are on the line - as the government votes on reforms which include firing thousands of public sector employees. If the reforms are passed, 25,000 workers, including police and teachers, will be given eight months to find another position. If they don't, they'll get laid off, adding to the country's already high unemployment rate of 27 per cent. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) SYRIZA DEPUTY PANAGIOTIS LAFAZANIS SAYING: "This multi-bill is an abomination, dissolving the public sector in the country. Because of it, tens of thousands of workers will be out on the streets, while the others will be living in uncertainty and insecurity." Despite the protests, parliament IS expected to approve the plans, which must be passed before the EU and IMF can pay out 7 billion euros needed to keep the country afloat. But Greeks were given some relief - with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announcing to the nation Greece's first major tax cut since its crisis began almost four years ago. Value added tax in restaurants will be cut from 23 per cent to 13 per cent from August. The government says the cut will help curb tax evasion - but has warned that if evasion persists, the tax will go up again. The announcement came just hours before parliament was due to vote, and the debate was heating up. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) SYRIZA PARTY LEADER ALEXIS TSIPRAS SAYING: "This might be the first time that we have a bill that not only includes austerity, wage cuts and the dissolution of social services - it also contains the immediate layoffs of thousands of citizens, workers of the wider public sector. In other words, it is about tomorrow, the tomorrow of thousands of workers in the wider public sector." Protesters are unlikely to be appeased by the VAT reduction. If the multi-bill does become law, Greece's two main labour unions have vowed to intensify their fight.