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Greece grinds to near halt in 48-hour general strike

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By Sarah Taylor  with Reuters, Newsweek
Greece grinds to near halt in 48-hour general strike

Greece has ground to a near halt with the start of a 48-hour general strike on Friday morning (May 6).

The country’s largest private and public sector unions called for action to protest against strict austerity conditions imposed by Greece’s international creditors in return for a multi-billion-euro bailout.

Tax and pension reforms have been described by the private sector GSEE union as the “last nail in the coffin.”

Pensioner Konstantinos Andreopoulos was not optimistic about the outcome of the strike.

“Everything the unions are doing now is to justify their existence. Absolutely nothing will change. And those who came to power after 50 years will not risk their seats. They’re not stupid. They will do anything, even sell their souls to the devil.”

Greek politicians are due to vote on the austerity measures on Sunday (May 8) in parliament. It’s hoped the terms will help persuade Greece’s lenders to approve the release of bailout money.

The GSEE will continue to strike on Sunday, while demonstrations are also expected during the May Day festivities, postponed by a week so as not to clash with the Orthodox Easter.