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General strike in Greece over pensions’ reform
A general strike is underway in Greece over pension reforms, for the second time in a week, disrupting public services and travel from Athens. Thousands of demonstrators were marching through main cities in Greece to protest retirement reforms and government austerity measures.
In Athens, several thousand demonstrators are taking to the street, responding to a call from major trade unions, to protest austerity measures introduced after receiving a huge debt bailout.
Some 500 strikers, affiliated to the Communist Party, were gathered in the Athens harbour, and blocked the departure of ferries to islands close to Athens.
The demonstrators were, however, prevented from approaching larger ships to top tourist destinations in the Aegean islands, a coastguard source says. Authorities sent 1,000 coastguards and police to protect the ships.
Strikes and protests have hit the Greek tourism industry, which amounts to 20 per cent of the country’s GDP.
The general strike called by Greece’s main unions is the fifth since February against austerity measures introduced by the Greek government to shore up the country’s crisis-hit economy.
Civil servants, hospital staff, private sector workers and journalists are joining the strike, which means that little information is available inside the country about the protests.
On Monday, Greek officials said the country will be returning to international markets for the first time after receiving a huge debt bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Greece will be issuing over 3.3 million euros in treasury bills in July.
Struggling under debt approaching 300 billion euros, Greece was forced to adopt tough economic measures that have caused recurring strikes and protests backed by labour unions and left-wing parties.