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Greece faces strike, protests over new austerity measures

People chant slogans as they take part in a 24-hour general strike in Athens, Greece, December 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Greece's workers have staged a 24-hour general strike to protest Athens' decision to impose more austerity measures in the country.

The country's two biggest unions called for the nationwide general strike paralyzing public transportation on Thursday, ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote on austerity measures next week.

The protesters also gathered in Athens on Thursday for anti-government rallies, while demonstrations were planned in more than 50 cities and towns across the country.

About 30,000 members from the umbrella unions of civil servants ADEDY and private sector employees GSEE joined the demonstration in the capital Athens.

Some protesters said the Greeks had been suffering from the bailout deals over the past eight years.

The anti-austerity government has been making efforts to keep both the workers and the European Union creditors, who dictate the austerity measures, content.

"The government is doing a dirty job at the expense of the Greek people," said Greek Communist Party leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas, speaking at the rally.

"Since 2008 to now, they've made the situation worse, the EU. So is that supposed to be a help to Greece? I don't think so," said a retired mechanical engineer named David.

He said the pensions of retirees had decreased, labor wages slashed, and there were no future employment opportunities for young people, while debt continued to rise after years of austerity.

Students chant slogans as they take part in a 24-hour general strike in Athens, Greece, December 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

"The debt has gone up and the unemployment went up. We have 50 percent of young people with no work," David claimed.

Athens is to soon receive about five billion euros in loans from the current 86-billion-euro bailout program, Greece’s third since 2010. The government hopes the fresh loan will give the economy a boost and return the country to full market financing by August 2018.

Greek citizens are now claiming that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has failed to deliver his election promise of putting an end to austerity measures.

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