The second day of Greece’s ‘General strike’ was marred by violence as a small group of protesters threw molotov cocktails at the police who responded by firing tear gas into the crowds.
The general strike which has affected transport and public services enters its third day on Thursday when the Greek parliament is expected to vote on a new austerity package.
Earlier on Wednesday, thousands of protesters in the Greek capital Athens had marched peacefully against the new package which includes a further increase in taxes, as well as pension and benefit cuts.
Vice President of the Federation of the Private Sector Employees, Thanos Vassilopoulos told Euronews that: “When you face a general attack, you respond with a general mobilisation.
This is what happens now. This is an attack that strikes and finishes off pensions, strikes and finishes off employer-union contracts, strikes and finishes off small and medium sizes companies that represent 92% of the Greek economy.”
One of the government’s plans is to encourage stores to stay open longer on Sundays, to boost spending but not everyone is enthused by the idea.
Efi Michali, President of the Beauty products employees said: “There is no way we are going to earn more if the stores stay open on Sundays.”
“We do not want to earn more. We are working people, we are humans, we cannot work as slaves all week long and to serve whom?” she queried adding that “people that want to buy things do not wait for Sunday to shop!”
The Greek government has defended its plans saying public sector pay will not fall. It is also promising counter-measures that will soften the blow for low income earners.
Euronews’ correspondent Symela Touchtidou reports that the Greek parliament will on Thursday vote on measures that follow the conclusion of the second evaluation.
The government believes that after the vote the Greek economy, the only one in eurozone still in recession, will turn the page and move into growth.