Greece shut down by 48-hour strike

Austerity vote brings protests, violence

Greek police clashed with demonstrators outside parliament Wednesday as politicians gathered to vote on a new round of austerity measures, Reuters reports. A 48-hour strike shut down government offices, shops and other services across the country, as 100,000 people took to the streets. Unlike in previous anti-austerity protests, private sector workers walked out along with public sector employees, causing banks, shops, cafés and supermarkets, which normally stay open during strikes, to remain closed, according to the Financial Times. The most recent round of belt-tightening, which Greece must turn into legislation before it can access the next $11 billion tranche of its current bail-out package, includes tax hikes, wage cuts and layoffs. It sparked widespread outrage and concern these measures would only further hurt the economy. Greece is in its third year of a severe recession; its public debt now equals 162 per cent of gross domestic product.

Financial Times

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