The strike was called by Greece’s two biggest labor organizations and is the third in two months against spending cuts and reforms that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wants Parliament to approve on Nov. 7 to unlock international aid.
Transport was severely disrupted across the country and schools, banks and local government offices were shut. Hospitals were working on emergency staffing. “They should go to hell and beyond,” said Anais Metaxopoulou, a 65-year-old pensioner. “They should ask me how I feel when I have to go to church to beg for food. I wouldn’t hurt a fly but I would happily behead one of them.”
“We are striking on Tuesday and Wednesday to send a message to the government – these measures must not pass!” said Nikos Kioutsoukis, general secretary of the GSEE private sector union that called the strike along with the ADEDY public sector union. “It’s unacceptable that the people have to pay for the funds bankers are getting from the state.”
Trains, buses and the subway came to a halt. Many flights have been cancelled, ships remained tied up at ports and taxi drivers also stayed off the streets. Some Greeks say the latest cuts could tear society apart. “Someone needs to tell them there’s nothing left to cut,” said Vassilis Dimosthenous, a 50-year-old construction worker who has been without a job for 10 months. “They’ve made our daily lives unbearable. If only I was 10 years younger I’d leave this place.”