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Cypriot lawmakers gear up for deposit levy vote

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- Cyprus' president is briefing lawmakers ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote on a controversial levy on bank deposits that the cash-strapped country's creditors have demanded in exchange for a €10 billion ($13 billion) rescue package.

Police cordoned off the road in front of the parliament on Monday amid heightened security to prevent any protesters from approaching the building and interrupting discussions inside.

Many lawmakers have said they would vote down the 6.75 percent levy on all bank deposits under €100,000 and 9.9 percent on everything above. President Nicos Anastasiades has warned that rejection would mean Cyprus' bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro.

But Cypriot officials are trying to reduce the levy for small savers as much as possible with a corresponding rise for deposits of over €100,000.