Over ten thousand Greek workers, including youths and pensioners, took to streets on Wednesday holding banners reading "No!" and "They have crushed our lives!" to protest a wave of austerity measures that have gripped the country for several years now.
The protesters largely from the communist/socialist union-affiliated group PAME are striking against a new wave austerity measures that will kick in after the country's third international bailout expires this summer. Some flights were halted and the public transport was also disrupted during the one-day nationwide action organized by Greece's largest labor unions, the private sector GSEE and its public sector counterpart ADEDY.
"They (politicians) have devoured us," shouted Yannis Vlachos, a municipal worker from the southern Peloponnesian city of Sparta, pointing his finger at parliament, according to Reuters.
Since its debt crisis began eight years ago, Greece has received nearly US$302 billion in bailout loans in exchange for implementing austerity measures such as public sector layoffs, tax hikes, and pension cuts. Austerity measures imposed by several Hellenic governments over the course of eight years has outraged a vast majority.
"The government, which implements the same policies that have destroyed the people and the economy, is loading the back of workers and pensioners with new unbearable measures," the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement.
The strike affected mainly public services, with absolute stoppage to the railway services, but only partial in road transport. A 24-hour strike of buses and trolleys is scheduled for Thursday, and the subway will stop for a few hours. The ferry traffic was also paralyzed because the sailors' union has joined the day-long strike. The media and secondary school teachers have joined the strike, despite the fact that school exams are in progress.
Hospitals and public medical consultations only offer minimal services, most private doctors will operate as per usual, Reuters reported.