Thousands converge on the Greek capital to rally against government austerity measures.
The mass May day protests in Athens have been called ahead of a multi-billion euro bailout by the EU and IMF, expected this weekend.
Unions says they are still hopeful they can mobilise enough opposition to halt the planned wage cuts, tax hikes, and pension freezes.
“May day is a stepping stone towards more battles in the future because workers rights are in doubt at the moment,” said one protester.
After a torrid week on the financial markets, that threatened not only to destroy the Greek economy but also the euro, Prime Minister George Papandreou warned the rescue deal is a matter of national survival.
Unions, however, remain defiant. Most of the country’s ports and other transport hubs have been closed due to a 24 hour national walkout. Many shops were also shut.
Despite that Athens is under pressure from Germany, the eurozone’s biggest economy, to make further stringent cuts to control its debt.