Greek doctors, dockers and public-transport workers went on strike against crippling austerity measures today ahead of a general strike later this month.
"The brutal suppression of workers' basic and fundamental rights and the bleeding dry through taxation of workers and pensioners have gone beyond all limits," private-sector union federation GSEE said when it announced the February 20 general strike.
Thousands of protesters rallied in separate locations around Athens.
About 500 hospital workers rallied outside the health ministry in central Athens.
Doctors and ambulance staff walked out, leaving public hospitals with only emergency cover.
Athens's buses stood idle, as did suburban rail and ferry services.
But underground workers were still subject to a civil mobilisation order that the government used to break an eight-day strike last week.
Public-sector union Adedy declared a three-hour stoppage from noon in solidarity.
Unemployment has hit more than 26 per cent as regressive EU and IMF-imposed austerity measures have destroyed what's left of the Greek economy.
And many workers have not been paid for months.
Workers are also protesting against the abolition of collective bargaining agreements and planned pension changes.
Most government employees have also had to endure 25 per cent pay cuts as Greece struggles to meet the terms of its international creditors.
The strikes followed brutal suppression of a protest on Wednesday by communist-aligned trade unionists.
Pame supporters occupied Labour Minister Yianni Vroutsi's office after he announced further attacks on the social security system.
Riot police arrested 35 protesters and injured nine more as they dragged them to waiting police vans.
Hundreds marched to the prison where the detained activists were held, chanting: "Release the workers from the police station, they are not terrorists, they want jobs."
The 35 were later freed to face trial on February 12 on charges of "illegal loitering in a public place."
Communist Party general secretary Aleka Papariga told the rally outside the jail: "When a government is not prepared to carry out even the slightest retreat in the face of the people who are suffering, then it has no other solution other than violence."
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