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Greece declares war on austerity cuts

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Greece, Athens: Communist-affiliated unionists rally toward the Greek parliament on June 28, 2011.

Greek trade unions have begun a 48-hour general strike against new austerity cuts which are due to go to a crucial vote on Wednesday. Some protesters are warning they will try to prevent MPs from entering the parliament.

The strike is due to disrupt and even halt the work of most public services in Athens, with such professionals as doctors, ambulance drivers, transport workers, actors and other workers joining in en masse.

Hundreds of domestic and international flights have been canceled or rescheduled due to air transport controllers taking part in the strike and working on and off on Tuesday.

In its statement, the labor union of state officials, which includes over 500,000 members, said that it condemns the EU and IMF’s bailout policies.

The union said that the measures, which EU demands from Greece, will destroy the rights of workers and pensioners and will lead young people and unemployed to “desperation.”

Protesters, some of whom have gathered in Piraeus port of Athens on Tuesday, are demanding government to stop their policies of impoverishing its people.

“The situation that the workers are undergoing is tragic and we are near poverty levels,” protester Spyros Linardopoulos was quoted by AP as saying. “The government has declared war and to this war we will answer back with war.”

Some 5,000 policemen are guarding the center of Athens, where protesters are gathering with the aim of moving towards the parliament.

Starting Monday, the Greek parliament has been debating the financial program up to 2015, stipulating over 28 million euros in budget cuts.

If adopted, the plan will lead to tax hikes and pension cuts, as well as layouts of 150,000 people from budget-funded organizations.

The adoption of the program comes as a condition for Greece to receive the next installment of 12 billion euros of the EU-backed bailout.

Without the bailout it is expected to become the first of the EU states to default on its debts, inevitably affecting other EU economies.


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