NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A plan to seize up to 10 percent of savings accounts in Cyprus to help pay for a €15.8 billion financial bailout was met with fury Monday, and the government shut down banks until later this week while lawmakers wrangled over how to keep the island nation from bankruptcy.Though the euro and stock prices of European banks fell, global financial markets largely remained calm, and there was little sense that bank account holders elsewhere across the continent faced similar risk. Asian stock markets rose Tuesday, shaking off jitters sparked by Cyprus' financial crisis.
A rejection of the package could see the country go bankrupt and possibly drop out of the euro currency — an outcome that would be even more damaging to financial markets' confidence. Even while playing down the chance of fresh market turmoil, experts warned that the surprise move broke an important taboo against making depositors pay for Europe's bailouts. As a result, it may have longer-term consequences for confidence in Europe's banking system — and its ability to end its financial crisis.
"It's a precedent for all European countries. Their money in every bank is not safe," said lawyer Simos Angelides at an angry protest outside parliament in Cyprus' capital, Nicosia, where people chanted, "Thieves, thieves!"