Greece’s new government is getting its first taste of public anger over the country’s harsh austerity measures.
A general strike is underway, with public transport ground to a halt, schools shut and hospitals only dealing with emergencies.
Unions representing over half of Greece’s four million-strong workforce called the 24-hour strike.
One union leader, Ilias Iliopoulos from the ADEDY public sector union, said: “The austerity measures are supposed to be improving things, but the country’s deeper in debt, unemployment is rising and the recession is worse than anywhere in Europe.” He says families are falling apart, with young people forced to go overseas.
The strike is the first major test of the resolve of the new technocrat prime minister Lucas Papademos.
To continue receiving EU and IMF bailout cash, he is having to push ahead with more painful reforms of the economy. This on top of tax rises, redundancies and pay cuts already brought in.