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Three Die During Greek Protests

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Three people died in Athens today following protests over austerity measures that would severely reign in Greek spending.

The BBC reports that the bodies were found inside a bank that protesters set fire to. Tens of thousands of people rallied in the streets to protest the austerity legislation, which would freeze wages, increase taxes and cut workers' pensions. 

"These people are losing their rights, they are losing their future," labor leader Yiannis Panagopoulos told The Associated Press. "The country cannot surrender without a fight."

Some protestors threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police. Police responded with tear gas. Greece's Prime Minister, George Papandreou, condemned the violence and called the three deaths "murder."

The international community is pressuring Greece's Parliament to pass legislation that would cut its deficit to less than 3 percent of the gross domestic product by 2014 in exchange for a €110 billion, or $145 billion, loan. Greece's Parliament is expected to vote on the legislation this week.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to sell the German people on a Greek bailout package of €8.4 billion, or $11 billion. "Quite simply, Europe's future is at stake," Merkel said, according to the BBC. The Bundestag, or Germany's lower house of Parliament, is expected to vote on the package this week.

For more WQXR coverage on this story, click here and here.