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Greeks kick off new wave of strikes against austerity measures

 
 
 
 
 
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People walking by closed shops in Athens during the 24-hours general strike.

Greeks have kicked off a new wave of strikes to protest against fresh austerity measures due to be presented by the government to the parliament.

The work stoppage began on Monday as the metro in the capital Athens was shut and taxi drivers halted services.

There was also a media blackout on Monday as journalists stopped working in a 24-hour strike.

Only some employees turned up for work at hospitals and service was reportedly very slow.

The new austerity package, which will be presented to the parliament by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, introduces spending cuts and tax hikes worth 13.5 billion euros ($17 billion).

The strike is expected to intensify across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday when the country’s main public and private sector unions will launch a 48-hour strike.

The unions have also planned to stage a demonstration in the center of Athens on Tuesday, a day before the lawmakers are set to vote on the austerity package.

Samaras needs to win the vote in order to secure over 31 billion euros in aid from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. The financial support has been on hold since May.

Greece has been cutting down its spending during the past four years. A quarter of Greeks have lost their jobs as a result of the move.

Experts believe the vote will go in favor of the government measures.

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