Skip to main content

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

By Elinda Labropoulou and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 0253 GMT (1053 HKT)
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
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
Groping, lewd comments, and that's not the worst of it.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 0133 GMT (0933 HKT)
British hostage John Cantlie appears from the battle city of Kobani.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1106 GMT (1906 HKT)
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