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Anti-austerity strikes in Greece cripple public services

In another round of strike action against austerity measures in Greece, public transport has been disrupted across the bailed-out eurozone nation. Protesters said international lenders were destroying the country.

Greeks during street protrst against austerity LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Griechenland Protest Demonstration Sparmaßnahmen Generalstreik 01.05.2013

Public transport came to a standstill in large parts of Greece and services were shut down as thousands took to the streets to voice their frustration over the government's continued austerity drive.

The strike was called by the country's largest private and public sector unions and resulted in closed state-run schools while forcing hospitals and ambulance services to operate with emergency staff only.

Dozens of flights were canceled or rescheduled as air traffic controllers were preparing to walk off the job.

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"Workers, pensioners and the unemployed are going through an endless nightmare," a port association announced in a statement. "The government and the international lenders are destroying this country."

Unions criticized tax hikes and salary and pension cuts the government has already implemented or was in the process of pushing through with a view to meeting budget consolidation targets set by creditors from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, also known as the troika.

Auditors had just returned to Greece for negotiations about the size of the eurozone member's 2014 deficit and additional steps needed to get the country its next aid tranche under its bailout program.

hg/mkg (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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