Skip to main content

General strike brings Greece to a halt as unions protest austerity moves

By Elinda Labropoulou and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 10:53 PM EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
A protestor holds a banner denouncing the Greek government on July 15 in Athens.
A protestor holds a banner denouncing the Greek government on July 15 in Athens.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police: 16,000-17,000 people take part in a peaceful protest march on parliament
  • A general strike affects public transit, flights, garbage collection and hospital staffing
  • Parliament is to vote Wednesday on further austerity measures
  • Greece has to reform its public sector in order to receive international bailout funds

Athens (CNN) -- A 24-hour general strike protesting further austerity measures brought many public services in Greece to a grinding halt Tuesday.

Public transit systems, flights and garbage collection services are affected by the nationwide action -- the fourth general strike this year -- while hospitals are running on skeleton staffing.

Labor unions held a rally in central Athens Tuesday morning, followed by a march to the national parliament building.

About 16,000 to 17,000 people took part in the demonstration, which was peaceful and resulted in no arrests, Athens police spokesman Panagiotis Papapetropoulos said.

The crowds started to disperse after they reached parliament.

Greece's former finance minister should be prosecuted, lawmakers say

A rally was also held outside parliament Monday night, but it did not attract large numbers of protesters. Many people have left the capital to escape the summer heat.

The general strike takes place ahead of a vote in parliament Wednesday on a bill containing further austerity measures.

The measures include the tightening of financial control of municipalities and other local authorities, changes to municipal policing and a provision making it easier to fire people in the civil sector.

The legislation must be approved in order for Greece to receive the next package of international bailout funds.

The bill is expected to go through, as the coalition government holds a slim majority in parliament.

Greece, the first country to receive a European Union bailout more than three years ago, is struggling to bring its huge public debt under control.

The country is in its sixth straight year of recession, and unemployment stood at 26.8% as of March this year, according to official figures. The jobless rate among young people in Greece has soared to nearly 60%.

OECD jobless rates forecast to remain stubbornly high

CNN's Elinda Labropoulou reported in Athens, and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:43 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions and pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN.
Hundreds of jihadis in Syria are from abroad -- which countries have the biggest problem?
updated 5:13 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Obama's remarks that he didn't yet have a strategy for ISIS in Syria is widely criticized.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 8:08 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
updated 6:20 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
In a major breach of privacy, a hacker leaked a series of pictures allegedly showing Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities in the nude.
Instead of weaving garments sold in the West, children should be in school
According to the International Labour Organization, there are 168 million child laborers around the world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT