Greece hit by third general strike in a month

BBC News
11 March 2010

Public services and transport in Greece have ground to a halt as workers stage a third general strike in protest at the government’s austerity measures.

Flights are grounded, and most schools and hospitals closed in the 24-hour walk-out called by the two main unions.

Riot police fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters during a large demonstration in the capital, Athens.

The government says it sympathises with public anger over tax rises and wage cuts but is refusing to back down.

The country currently has a spiralling public deficit of 12.7%, more than four times higher than eurozone rules allow.

The government has pledged to cut this to 8.7% this year, and also reduce the 300bn-euro (£275bn; $410bn) national debt, by cutting public sector salaries, raising the average retirement age, and increasing sales taxes.

‘Deep freeze’

Thursday’s march in central Athens was the largest since the troubles in Greece began, with an estimated 25,000 people taking part, says the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant.

Riot police, who were out in force to avoid a repeat of the violence seen during the previous strike last Friday, fired tear gas to disperse dozens of hooded protesters who threw rocks and other projectiles at the start of the march.

The article continues at BBC News.

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