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Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 18:34 UK

Greek strikers in angry protests

Protesters march through Athens
Strikers said they were anxious about their futures

Tens of thousands of people have joined protests in Greece's major cities during a strike against the government's economic policies.

The country's two biggest unions led marchers through the centre of Athens, chanting slogans against spending cuts.

The strike disrupted flights and led to banks and schools being closed.

Trying to tackle a big public finance deficit the government has frozen state wages and raised taxes, but protesters are angry at a big bail-out for banks.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced a 28bn euro (£26bn) bank support package in January, but has said it cannot afford to give substantial relief to the poor.

Public sector wages have been frozen and high-earners face increased tax bills.

Anxiety

"The government is taking measures which are very bad for our salaries. We live in a state of anxiety, we don't know what will happen tomorrow," Athena Giannogona, a schoolteacher, told Reuters during the demonstration in Athens.

Thursday's rallies saw an estimated 10-15,000 people march through Athens.

Thousands of others demonstrated in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Air traffic controllers, bus drivers and civil servants were among those on strike.

Greece suffered a spasm of riots following the police shooting of a teenager in December. The public unrest has quietened down, though some militant groups have sprung up and launched attacks on police.



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