Thousands of Greeks Launch General Strike, Fifth This Year

Public services in Greece ground to a halt, and transportation was disrupted on Tuesday as thousands of workers joined a general strike, the fifth this year, to protest deeply unpopular spending cuts that the debt-ridden government has promised its international creditors.

The country’s two main labor unions —referred to by their acronyms A.D.E.D.Y. and G.S.E.E, and representing some three million workers — vehemently oppose a draft law that aims to raise retirement ages, reduce monthly payments to pensioners and facilitate layoffs.

The bill follows from the government’s decision to accept a one-year aid package in May of about $135 billion over three years from Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund, according to New York Times.

While over 15,000 protesters marched in Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki according to police, several thousand travellers could not sail for the Greek islands from the port of Piraeus due to a Communist blockade.

At least six scheduled ferry services to the Aegean were cancelled though a strong police guard enabled seven ships to sail earlier, the Coast Guard said.

Some 500 Communist-affiliated strikers at the harbour also blocked the departure of smaller vessels to islands closer to Athens, AFP reports.

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