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Greeks strike over austerity cuts before vote

Tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets Tuesday as trade unions launched protests and a general strike.

Greece protests 07 10 2012Enlarge
Greeks fear government austerity is damaging their society. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets on Tuesday as trade unions launched protests and a general strike.

The Associated Press wrote over 35,000 people marched in Athens, and an additional 20,000 protested in Greece's second largest city Thessaloniki.

Greece's unions launched the strike, the third in six weeks, ahead of a vote this week on austerity cuts that would help the country avoid a default on its loans, USA TODAY reported.

The new package, which is being voted on Wednesday, would cut spending by $17.3 billion in the next two years, according to USA TODAY.

The striking public workers would be most harshly affected by the cuts, explained the AP.

As a result of the 48 hour strike, trains, taxis and airplane service was shut down, while schools were closed as thousands stayed home to protest the budget package.

The Greek government has the difficult choice of either passing the harsh measures which will put undue strain on Greek citizens, particularly workers and elderly, or face a default over its extensive debt.

A default could force Greece to leave the euro block which many experts feel could have a crippling effect on the European financial system.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/121106/greeks-strike-over-austerity-cuts-vote-0