Strike Shuts Down Greece ahead of Austerity Vote

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A two-day general strike in Greece brought the island nation to a grinding halt Wednesday.

The event grounded flights and disrupted public transportation as all sectors, from dentists, state hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, and teachers walked off the job.

"We expect that the strike could be the largest (in decades)," Ilias Vrettakos, deputy president of the civil servants' union ADEDY, told the Associated Press.

"The fact that other sections of society that are suffering from government policies are also participating gives a new dimension to the social resistance by workers and the people in general," he added.

"We hope that this mobilization will have an impact on political developments," he said.

The strike comes ahead of a vote in the Greek parliament on more budget cuts meant to keep the country's socialist system from going bankrupt.      

Police expect demonstrations.
A similar strike took place in June.  Protesters turned violent, torching cafes and clashing with police.

Meanwhile, a two-week strike by garbage collectors has left rotting garbage overflowing in the streets of Athens.

"People must have the right to strike, but not against the society," said Philippos Kirkitsos, head of the Ecological Recycling Society, a non-governmental group in Greece.

"This strike must stop now," he said. "We can think of another way to say what we want."

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