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Greek workers mark Labor Day with general strike, anti-austerity protests

By Alexia Vlachou

ATHENS, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Greece was gripped by a fresh 24-hour general strike on Thursday held by the public and private sector unions ADEDY and GSEE to mark Labor Day.

Approximately 5,000 demonstrators marched peacefully in central Athens and hundreds in other cities during the nationwide mobilization, chanting slogans and holding banners which read "Never again unemployed on Labor Day."

Under strict police surveillance, the marchers rallied in Syntagma Square in front of the parliament where they were addressed by trade unionists.

Public transport services were partially disrupted, as Hellenic Railway (OSE) did not run all day, and city buses and electric railway participated in the general strike with work stoppages. In addition, ships remained docked at Greek ports, due to the participation of the Seamen's Federation in the strike.

"In this historic day of May 1st, Greek workers unite their voices with the workers all over the world who fight against poverty, injustices, social discrimination and racism. The size of the attack we have suffered from in our labor and insurance rights make us unite against the tough economic policies that destroyed everything we gained the last 100 years with fatigue and fights," ADEDY stated in an official statement.

In May Day, Greek unionists called for an immediate end to the austerity measures which have led to record high unemployment rates and recession, just two days before the new Medium Term Plan for 2015-2018 is submitted in the Greek parliament.

The government has to secure additional state revenues of 2 billion euros per year and reduce public spending by 1.7 billion euros until 2018.

In order to avert a chaotic default, Greece has since 2010 depended on international bailout loans in exchange for austerity measures. (1 euro=1.38 U.S. dollars)

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