Greek workers have entered the second day of a national strike to protest a vote to approve new austerity measures. The vote is needed to unlock a tranche of international aid and stave off bankruptcy.
A general strike was expected to paralyze Athens for a second straight day, causing major disruptions to public transportation.
The country's two biggest trade unions, the GSEE and ADEY, called the 48-hour work stoppage, which started Tuesday, to protest against the latest austerity measures that the Greek parliament is scheduled to vote for on Wednesday.
The government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras desperately needs to get this latest package of austerity measures through parliament if it is to receive the latest 31.5-billion-euro ($40 billion) slice of an international bailout.
Prime Minister Samaras has warned that without the latest tranche, Greece could become insolvent by the middle of November.
Despite the country approaching bankruptcy, many Greeks are angry at repeatedly having to tighten their belts.
The measures to be voted on Wednesday include a rise in the retirement age to 67 from the current 65, and cuts of five to 10 percent in pensions of more than 1,000 euros a month.
Police estimated that 40,000 people turned out in Athens on Tuesday at a rally on Syntagma Square near parliament.
The creditors - which include the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - are to make a decision on whether to release the funds on November 12.
hc/rc (AFP, AP)