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Greek ferry workers, unions strike against austerity bill

A man looks through the shuttered entrance of a metro station in the Egaleo suburb of Athens during a 24-hour strike, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Greek transport workers, doctors in public hospitals and seamen are in a 24-hour strike against Greece's government new batch of creditor-demanded reforms. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

A man looks through the shuttered entrance of a metro station in the Egaleo suburb of Athens during a 24-hour strike, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Greek transport workers, doctors in public hospitals and seamen are in a 24-hour strike against Greece's government new batch of creditor-demanded reforms. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece — Ferry services in Greece were halted for 24 hours Friday as unions stepped up protests against a new austerity bill that will limit the right to strike and speed up property foreclosures.

More than 8,000 protesters joined a demonstration in central Athens as strikes disrupted public transport in the capital.

Police fired tear gas and briefly clashed with protesters on the steps of parliament at the end of the rally. No arrests or injuries were reported.

The austerity bill, to be voted late Monday, is considered to be potentially the last major package of cuts before Greece heads toward the end of the bailout program in August.

Amid a collapse in confidence, Greece lost the ability of raising money in international bond markets in 2010, but after years of budget restraint there are hopes that the country's economy faces a brighter future. The yield on the country's 10-year bond, for example, has dropped to below 4 per cent — its lowest in more than a decade, a clear sign that investors are more hopeful about Greece's economic prospects.

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