Greek labor unions warn of additional protests over austerity policies

14:20, May 12, 2011      

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Greek labor unions warned of additional protests over government austerity policies after Wednesday's 24-hour nationwide general strike.

But local analysts doubt the outcome will change things because the debt-ridden country is under increasing international pressure to face its financial crisis and fewer protesters are participating in demonstrations.

Approximately 10,000 protesters took part Wednesday in the main march of the two umbrella labor unions of public and private sector employees ADEDY and GSEE, according to estimations.

The unions called on the socialist government to change course and put an end to cutbacks on salaries, pensions, tax hikes and high unemployment rates and recession to address the debt crisis.

Wednesday's demonstrations ended in front of the parliament building amidst minor scuffles between youths and police, as public services and mass transportation across the country were paralyzed in an effort to pressure the government to alter policies.

No injuries were reported during the marches. But an Associated Press reporter saw at least three demonstrators injured and another five detained by police, while dozens of black-clad anarchists smashed bus stops, set rubbish bins on fire and smashed a shop window.

"We have had enough. Take your memorandum with EU and International Monetary Fund and leave the country," chanted protesters, referring to last May's aid package Athens secured in exchange of harsh fiscal adjustment and reforms measures to escape default and return to growth by 2014.

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