11 Mar 2010

Strike halts services in Greece again

10:17 pm on 11 March 2010

Public and transport services have halted in Greece for the second time in a month as thousands of state and private workers stage a general strike.

The stoppage is in protest at the country's austerity measures.

Flights are grounded, and schools and hospitals closed in the 24-hour strike called by Greece's two largest unions.

The BBC reports Greece's deficit currently stands at 12.7%, more than four times higher than the 3% limit set for the 16 European nations that use the euro.

The government has initiated austerity measures that include cutting civil servants' pay, freezing pensions and raising sales taxes.

Greek airspace is closed for 24 hours, ferries have stopped and police, fire and customs officers are joining street protests.

Buses and trams will not operating in Athens, or the second city of Thessaloniki.