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Empty streets in Athens as general strike begins

A guard outside the Parliament building Credit: EBU

The streets of Athens are empty as hundreds of thousands of Greeks begin a crippling 48-hour strike to protest against a new round of wage and pension cuts that parliament will vote on tomorrow.

The strike, called by the two biggest labour unions in Greece who represent half the four million-strong workforce, brought public transport to a virtual standstill and shuttered schools, banks and local government offices.

Trains stand idle in Athens Credit: EBU

Wednesday's vote is the biggest test yet for the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, which needs victory to secure aid from foreign lenders but has failed to convince its smallest coalition partner and the public to back the reforms.

The Metro in Athens is closed Credit: APTN
Gates and shutters are closed across Greece today Credit: EBU

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Teargas fired at protesters in Athens

Greek police are firing teargas at demonstrators throwing stones and petrol bombs in central Athens during protests over a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Police have fired teargas at protesters

Merkel was meeting Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras only a few hundred metres away from the clashes. Tens of thousands of austerity-weary Greeks took to the streets in one of the biggest protests in months.

Thousands gather in protest in Athens

Huge protests outside the Government building in central Athens

Despite large parts of central Athens being closed, thousands of people have gathered outside the Government building ahead of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Huge protests outside the Government building in central Athens
More protesters steam in to the square
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