Greece was hit by its third general strike in six weeks Tuesday, as its trade union hopes to persuade politicians to reject a major new austerity program that will condemn the country to more years of hardship in exchange for continued bailout funding.
Flights to and from the country stopped at 10 a.m. at the start of a 48-hour strike that has closed schools, halted train and ferry services, and kept hospitals running on emergency staff only.
Two days of demonstrations were planned until lawmakers vote late today on the bill to slash $17.3 billion US from budget spending over the next two years.
Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is facing his first serious crisis since he formed the coalition government in June as Socialist and leftwing members lawmakers threaten to vote against the austerity package.
The measures include new deep pension cuts and tax hikes, a two-year increase in the retirement age to 67, and laws that will make it easier to fire and transfer civil servants.
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