Greek Youth and Police Clash in Labor Riots

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Greece today in a nationwide strike against the government. The streets grew violent when young demonstrators clashed with riot police with tear gas and stun grenades.

The Associated Press reports that state workers left the job for 24 hours to protest spending cuts and tax hikes that the government plans to implement to counter the country's debt crisis. The government has announced public sector salary cuts in the billions of dollars, as well as hiring and pension fund freezes and consumer tax hikes.

Labor unions say working Greek people are being asked to pay disproportionately for bad fiscal mismanagement. "They are trying to make workers pay the price for this crisis," Yiannis Panagopoulos, leader of Greece's largest union, the GSEE, told The AP. "These measures will not be effective and will throw the economy into deep freeze."

In the meantime, the strike has grounded all flights and state hospitals are operating with a skeleton staff.

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