Photo Gallery Greece Grinds to a Halt

Tuesday marked the beginning of a two-day strike called in Greece by a handful of powerful unions to protest against an upcoming vote on austerity measures demanded by euro-zone leaders. In the morning, the movement of goods and people ground to a halt. In the afternoon, peaceful protests in Athens erupted into violent clashes between protesters and police.
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Tourists sitting in the port of Piraeus had to put their plans on hold: The strike was called by ADEDY, a union representing half a million civil servants, and GSEE, a union representing 2 million workers in the private sector.

Foto: Alkis Konstantinidis/ AFP
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Passengers wait during a four-hour work stoppage in Athens International Airport. The protesters are opposed to the austerity package that their representatives will vote on this Wednesday and Thursday.

Foto: Thanassis Stavrakis/ AP
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The stoppage has also affected railway and commuter traffic. The measures protesters oppose include €50 billion (roughly $71 billion) in wage cuts and tax increases.

Foto: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/ AFP
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Thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Athens this morning to voice their opposition to the cuts. But international leaders and other euro-zone leaders are demanding that Greece accept the austerity package.

Foto: ARIS MESSINIS/ AFP
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Many protesters feel the cuts hurt ordinary pensioners and workers at the expense of the rich. "The measures are for the good of the banks not for the good of the workers," Yannis Tsounis, a 38-year-old municipal worker, told Reuters. "Europe must not see us as pariahs. We are beginning to feel as not being part of Europe."

Foto: ARIS MESSINIS/ AFP
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Meanwhile flight boards brought only bad news at Athens' airport. Greece is suffering from the worst recession since the 1970s. Youth unemployment has surpassed 40 percent, and state debt has skyrocketed.

Foto: JOHN KOLESIDIS/ REUTERS
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Protesters in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens: Though the ruling PASOK party enjoys 155 of the seats in the 300-seat hourse, there are worries that not all members with vote with the party. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned lawmakers of the need to back the measures. "The government is running out of time," he said, according to Reuters. "We are handling our country's history right now, and nobody can play with that."

Foto: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/ AFP
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The measures are meant to pull Greece back from the brink of bankruptcy. European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn warned that failure to pass the measures would result in the country's immediate default.

Foto: JOHN KOLESIDIS/ REUTERS
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Many Greeks are furious at the austerity plan. After years of political corruption and inefficiency, they might now have to face even tougher conditions. "They are asking the people to bow down for 50 years," Aleka Papariga, the leader of the communist party, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Foto: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/ AFP
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In the early afternoon, groups of stone-throwing youths began squaring off with more than 5,000 police.

Foto: Dimitri Messinis/ AP
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Here, an outmatched protester confronts police in front of the parliament building.

Foto: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/ AFP
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A Greek police officer kicks a teargas canister that had been thrown back at officers.

Foto: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/ AFP
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A protester kicks a police officer escorting an arrested protester.

Foto: YANNIS BEHRAKIS/ REUTERS
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A demonstrator smashes the windows of a McDonalds restaurant.

Foto: YANNIS BEHRAKIS/ REUTERS
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Police watch on as a parasol burns.

Foto: YANNIS BEHRAKIS/ REUTERS
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Protesters hold up a mock hangman's scaffold in front of the parliament building.

Foto: JOHN KOLESIDIS/ REUTERS
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Even chairs were used as weapons in the protest.

Foto: YANNIS BEHRAKIS/ REUTERS
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