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Greece Braces for 'Mother of All Strikes'

Prime minister orders garbage crews back to work
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 1:45 PM CDT
Greece Braces for 'Mother of All Strikes'
Police officers, firefighters and coast guard officers gather for an anti-austerity protest outside Panathenaean stadium in Athens, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(Newser) – Don’t try to get anything done in Greece tomorrow: A coalition of unions representing roughly half of the country’s 4 million workers has called for a 48-hour general strike starting tomorrow to protest upcoming austerity measures, Reuters reports. One Greek newspaper has dubbed it “the mother of all strikes.” Many workers have already gotten started; trash litters Athens’ streets, ships are sitting at anchor, and news outlets have gone dark as trash collectors, sailors, and journalists strike.

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Prime Minister George Papandreou today invoked rarely-used emergency powers to order garbage collectors back to work, the AP reports. “I would like to ask all those who occupy ministry buildings, choke the streets with garbage, close off ports, close off the Acropolis, if this helps us stand on our feet again,” he said. “Of course it does not.” The austerity measure, which will likely be passed Thursday, includes tax hikes, wage cuts, and public sector layoffs. Unions are hoping their strike can disrupt the vote. (Read more Greece stories.)

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