ATHENS Feb 25 Greeks disgruntled by their
country's economic woes ramped up protests against the
government on Wednesday, shutting down airports and disrupting
many public services.
Public schools and tax offices shut down, and services at
ministries and public offices were suspended, as hundreds of
workers marched to parliament with banners reading "No to
pension reforms, privatisations and job cuts".
"Government policy ... only burdens workers, the
unemployed and the poor," public sector umbrella union ADEDY,
which represents 500,000 members, said in a statement.
The strikes are the latest in a wave of protests that have
put pressure on Greece's conservative government, shaken by the
worst riots in decades in December and struggling with a sharp
After years of 4 percent growth, Greece is seeing its
economy sharply slowing down due to the global financial crisis.
Workers accuse the conservative government, clinging to a
one-seat majority in parliament, of only helping the rich.
"We will continue and intensify our struggle, until our
demands are satisfied," ADEDY, which called the 24-hour strike,
National carrier Olympic airlines [OLY.UL] said 68 of its
domestic and international flights were cancelled and four were
rescheduled, while private rival Aegean Airlines (AGNr.AT) said
36 flights were grounded and 23 others disrupted.
The government, struggling with a huge public debt and
fiscal deficits, has launched a 28-billion-euro ($36-billion)
bank support plan, saying it meant to pour money into the
The strike was the latest in a series of public protests to
hit the ruling conservatives. December riots were prompted by
the police shooting of a teenager but fuelled by discontent over
the economy and high youth unemployment.
In January, thousands of farmers protesting low product
prices blocked border crossings, causing 11 days of travel chaos
across Greece and hurting commercial transport. They ended the
protest after securing a 500-million-euro aid package.
Truckers went on strike last week, demanding a crackdown on
unlicensed transport companies and illegal economic immigrants,
who they said were destroying goods and fighting drivers in
their effort to stow away on board.
On Wednesday, they ended the five-day strike and blockades
at the borders with Bulgaria and Greek ports, after transport
ministry officials promised to start talks.
"Our strike is over, but only for now," said the president
of Greek truck drivers federation, Apostolos Kenanides.
(Editing by Phakamisa Ndzamela)