ANTI-AUSTERITY protests have clogged Athens as the government struggles to finalise additional cutbacks with its creditors and seeks to jumpstart a privatisation drive delayed for months.
Some 2000 teachers, hospital doctors and municipal staff demonstrated against a new round of state salary cuts and job losses expected by October, with hundreds of security staff also demonstrating later in the day.
Most town halls were to remain closed until tomorrow, with mayors warning that they already have trouble paying their staff because of prior funding cuts to local governments.
"State funding is down by over 65 per cent since 2009," Christos Kortzidis, mayor of the coastal suburb of Hellenikon, said. "We are on the verge of a payment default."
Hundreds of security staff, some in uniform, took part in another protest later in the afternoon. It was their second protest since the debt crisis began, in 2010.
"We can't take it anymore. Right now I earn $43,000 per year after more than 20 years in the service, and with the expected new cuts, my income will drop to $39,017," said 43-year-old captain Mihalis Daskalakis.
"Before the crisis, in 2009, I was making $55,083," the father of two said.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called his coalition partners to a meeting, with time running out for Athens to finalise about $26.3 billion in cuts in 2013-14 to unblock access to EU-IMF loans.
News reports yesterday said the government was under intense pressure from its 'troika' of creditors - the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank - to cut pensions and severance pay and revise working hours.
Mr Samaras has struggled to convince creditors that his government is determined to push forward with reforms that are months behind schedule, but the demands for further action have strained the conservative leader's three-party coalition.