Greek workers launched a 48-hour general strike today to protest government austerity measures as 20,000 demonstrators headed to Parliament and another 7,000 marched in the country’s second-biggest city. Some 5,000 police guarded Athens, and while the initial protests were peaceful, things are heating up. Young people threw rocks near Greece’s finance ministry, prompting tear gas from police; in central Athens youths burned garbage bins. Strikers range from actors to casino workers to doctors, the AP reports.
With lawmakers considering a $40 billion austerity program, including new taxes on minimum-wage earners, “the government has declared war and to this war we will answer back with war,” said a protester. Meanwhile, the debate continues in Parliament as European officials push for the plan. "To those who speculate about other options,” noted one, “let me say this clearly: There is no Plan B to avoid default," the New York Times reports. But protesters argue the country’s debts aren’t theirs to cover. “We don't owe any money, it's the others who stole it,” said one.