ATHENS, Greece -- Greece approved a reform bill on Wednesday that paves the way for the sale of nearly a third of its biggest power producer, in a move protested by workers and the main opposition, who want the Public Power Corp. to remain in state hands.
The plan to privatise PPC is part of Greece's efforts to liberalize its energy market, one of the conditions demanded by its European Union and IMF creditors before they disburse the next tranche under Greece's 240 billion-euro bailout.
Hundreds marched to parliament late on Wednesday as lawmakers inside prepared to vote, unfolding banners that read "We're not selling it" and "We will resist."
Greece is beginning to emerge from its protracted recession, but anti-austerity sentiment remains high. Repeated rounds of spending cuts and tax hikes since its rescue from bankruptcy in 2010 have driven up unemployment and homelessness and eroded living standards.
"Everyone must come out onto the streets to help get rid of them [the government]," Evangelia Alexaki, an unemployed cleaner, said from the rally. "It's time for them to go. If they don't leave, we are lost."
By Karolina Tagaris | Additional reporting by Gina Kalovyrna | Editing by Larry King
Copyright Reuters 2014