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 11:13 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 5:15 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT