Protests Plague Greece Ahead of Austerity Vote

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Greek officials are facing a decisive week in the country's debt crisis. A key vote on new austerity measures is set for Thursday.

Those measures include wage and pension cuts, as well as layoffs for some in public service.

In Athens, 16 consecutive days of strikes over the cuts have halted ferries and left rotting trash to pile up.

"The government is destroying its central administration and cutting away the safety net for our citizens, while dramatic cuts in pay are driving workers into poverty and deprivation," the civil servants' union ADEDY said. "The latest measures are the deathblow for our income."

Looming over the upcoming austerity vote is another 48-hour general strike scheduled to take place Wednesday and Thursday.

The demonstration is expected to ground flights, cripple public and many private services, and shut down essential services like gas stations and bakeries.

Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is asking his people to be patient, saying his government is working to prevent a financial "catastrophe."

Greece's financial problems are a major part of the European debt crisis.

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