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Strikes called before crucial Greek austerity vote

Strikes called before crucial Greek austerity vote
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As the Greek government prepares for a crucial week, aiming to get another wave of austerity measures through parliament, opponents are planning more strikes and demonstrations.

“The people have the power… never surrender” read the banner that members of a branch of the Communist Party unravelled at the Acropolis. The protest preceded a two-day stoppage called by the unions.

The conservative opposition has rejected calls by EU leaders for national unity, forcing the government to rely on a slim parliamentary majority to push the package through.

Unless it is approved, the European Union and International Monetary Fund say they will not release the fifth instalment of the country’s bailout.

Opinion polls suggest three quarters of Greeks oppose the new round of taxes and spending cuts.

Athens needs the 12 billion euros to pay its bills and avert the euro zone’s first default, which would have a resounding impact well beyond Greece’s borders.

Parliament is due to vote on the package on Wednesday and Thursday.