January 25, 2013 / 5:47 AM / 7 years ago

Greek riot police break up striking subway workers' sit-in

Striking workers stand outside a metro depot in Athens January 24, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek riot police stormed a subway train depot in Athens early on Friday to disperse striking subway staff who defied a government order to return to work for a ninth consecutive day, a police official said.

Scuffles broke out when police forced their way through a metal gate shortly after 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) and detained at least 10 workers, the official said on condition of anonymity. One woman was taken to hospital with light injuries, he added.

The escalating standoff has turned into the latest test for Greece’s fragile coalition as it faces down the unions to implement austerity measures demanded by foreign lenders as the price for bailout funds.

Subway workers have ignored the order, issued under emergency legislation by the conservative-led government on Thursday, paralyzing the Athens subway in a week-long walkout.

About 90 workers stayed at the train depot overnight in protest. The subway workers, who have defied a court order to return to work, oppose being included in a unified wage scheme for public sector workers that would slash their salaries.

Bus and railway workers are joining the walkout on Friday in solidarity.

Under the emergency law, workers can face arrest and up to five years in jail. No arrests have been made so far, the official said.

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Eric Walsh

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