Thousands gather for protests in Athens as anger mounts over expected harsh austerity plan

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Thousands of protesters are gathering in central Athens for rallies fueled by anger at expected harsh austerity measures needed to secure rescue loans for near-bankrupt Greece.

The government is set to announce more sweeping spending cuts through 2012 to win support for an international loan package worth €45 billion ($60 billion) this year alone.

The International Monetary Fund has said it will provide the money over three years, along with Greece's partners in the eurozone. IMF and EU negotiators began talks in Athens on April 21 and continued through Friday.

The additional measures have not been announced but are likely to include raising consumer taxes, while docking pensions and public service pay. Unions are furious and called on workers to rally in central Athens Saturday.