As the clock ticks on efforts to save Greece from bankruptcy, Greeks have taken to the streets to protest against possible new austerity measures.
The general strike coincided with the return of EU and IMF officials to Athens. Without their approval Greece will not get another bailout.
Greek workers have seen their incomes slashed in five years of cut-backs, and they are not in a welcoming mood. One protester in Athens said: “They’re going to impose even more harsh measures.”
A communist party leader taking part in the demonstration said: “More sacrifices will not save us from bankruptcy. The system most be overthrown.”
In one isolated incident some turned their anger on a plain-clothes policeman, but the protest was otherwise peaceful.
Greece needs a 130 billion rescue package, but its leaders are also trying to agree a deal with banks on slashing 100 billion euros off a 350 billion euro debt. However, negotiations the hit rocks on Friday and were not due to restart until Wednesday, with the markets and the rest of the eurozone watching on nervously.
The industrial action brought Athens to a standstill, but was unlikely to have the desired affected. Similar protests last year did not deflect the previous government from its path of austerity, and the current administration of technocrats is even more determined to push through the reforms the country’s creditors are insisting on.