Thousands march in Greece over austerity measures

At least 36,000 people according to police demonstrated in Athens, Thessaloniki and the port of Piraeus to reject economic policies dictated by Greece's narrow bankruptcy rescue by the EU and the IMF last year.

"We cannot take any more," read a banner carried by the union representing civil servants, who have borne the brunt of wage and pension cuts imposed by the Socialist government of Papandreou.

Some 5,000 police were mobilised around the capital today, reinforced from neighbouring cities, to maintain order.

The strike is the latest after months of labour unrest last year. Several protests against austerity have turned violent in the past. Three people died in May last year when a bank branch was firebombed in Athens.

Today's action paralysed maritime traffic and train services, disrupted urban transport in the capital and was set to cause a four-hour flight blackout from 1000 to 1400 GMT.
The industrial action has also affected hospitals and schools and shut down public administration offices and banks.

Journalists were also joining today's strike while the National Trade Confederation called on members to close their shops.

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