Protesters have started gathering outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, as a 48-hour general strike has brought the country to a virtual stand still.
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.
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.
Violent protests took place in Athens today as German Chancellor Angela Merkel - who is a widely disliked figure within the country - arrived in Greece.
Only a few hundred metres from mass protests in central Athens Angela Merkel has been speaking with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras about the austerity measures Greece is facing.
Rocks and debris have been thrown at riot police in Athens and explosions have rocked the crowd as ten of thousands protest over the visit of Angela Merkel.
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.
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.
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.