Flights were grounded, schools shut and civic offices closed in a nationwide strike Wednesday to protest the government's austerity measures. Riot police in Athens clashed with protesters and fired tear gas
Greek police tear-gassed protestors in central Athens on Wednesday as public sector staff and students went on strike over austerity cuts, shutting down courts, schools and transport including flights.
On Athens' central Syntagma Square outside the parliament building, police used tear gas to clear some of the 20,000 protestors, who included some 300 anarchists, after firebombs were thrown at them,
The protests organised by the two main Greek unions, ADEDY and GSEE, came ahead of a general strike on October 19, which will also affect banks and shops.
It was called in response to new taxes, wage cuts and layoffs imposed by a government,
All workers must unite and coordinate their forces against this storm of measures that strike income and labour rights,"
Interior Minister Haris Kastanidis said Greece must hold a referendum so the seemingly outraged public can vote on the government's response to the debt crisis.
Civil servants are protesting a plan to furlough some 30,000 employees, who will be on reduced pay for a year as they try to find other jobs.
The workers concerned already suffered sweeping wage cuts last year.
The 24-hour walkout has shut down ministries, town halls, museums, schools and courtrooms, as well as flights in Greece. It also brought trains to a halt and hospitals were reduced to emergency staffing.
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