Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Strikes in Greece Paralyze Country

Flights to and from Greece were grounded, trains and ferries suspended their routes and public services were paralyzed Wednesday as angry Greek workers went on strike to protest harsh new spending cuts aimed at saving their country from bankruptcy.

Police officers clashed with protesters in central Athens during protests over the government's economic austerity measures. Hooded youths attacked shops and banks with Molotov cocktails and paving stones; one bank along the march route caught fire after being hit with a Molotov cocktail, leaving dozens of people trapped inside. Police officials stated that three people were killed in the fire. At least two other buildings in Athens were also set on fire.
A small group of protesters attempted to storm the parliament building, prompting police officers to fire tear gas to disperse them. An estimated 20,000 people participated in a separate demonstration in Thessaloniki; police officers used tear gas to disperse protesting youths who hurled rocks at shops, restaurants and banks. The strike continues today and is supposed to end tonight.
Because the situation remains somewhat uncertain, those considering travel to Greece over the next several days should follow events in the country closely due to the potential that violent protests could further intensify.

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