NEWS

Peaceful protests against latest austerity measures

A peaceful protest by thousands of private and public sector workers against austerity measures has taken place in Athens.

A march was also held in Thessaloniki. Both were reported to be peaceful with no major disturbances. Police did not give an official estimate for the amount of people taking part in the demonstrations.

Tax offices, courts and schools shut down, hospitals are operating on emergency staff and customs officials walked off the job.

The national rail network and the Proastiakos suburban railway have suspended operations all day. Ferries remain moored in port as seamen join the 24-hour walkout.

Flights are unlikely to be heavily disrupted.

Buses and the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway will be operating between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Trolley buses will be running from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The tram will be in service from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The metro will not shut down at all but trains will not run to Athens International Airport. They will stop at Doukissis Plakentias station.

Protesters are calling for austerity measures that have been voted through Parliament under the previous PASOK government — including tax hikes, wage cuts and public sector layoffs — to be revoked.

New Democracy issued a statement on Thursday criticizing the creation of a labor reserve scheme for public sector workers as being politically motivated. Under the scheme, some 30,000 civil servants will leave their positions and receive 60 percent of their salary for a year before facing redundancy.

The conservatives said the criteria for which public servants would be put through the scheme raised ethical and political questions.