Athens Strikes Expected to End by Monday

More drama in Athens this week: Greek protesters marched on Parliament on Thursday, raising the prospect of increased violence in strikes against austerity measures the government seems set to approve in attempts to avoid a debt default. During Sunday's summit of European leaders, voters are expected to "hammer out a comprehensive solution to the bloc's debt crisis, and which is also to decide whether to release badly needed aid for Greece," according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Economic Times, protesters "pelted police" with gasoline bombs and "chunks of marble" on Wednesday when the plan was first read yesterday. The protests continued for a second day today, and the Wall Street Journal says that "tens of thousands of people" have gathered outside Parliament, calling the protest "one of the biggest marches in years." Demonstraters have closed down all three of the city's three main avenues, spilling into surrounding streets and squares. Notable tourist attractions, including the Acropolis, have been closed down.

Chris Petsilas, director of the Greek National Tourism Organization in New York, told Travel Agent that the strikes should be over by Monday, after the finance minister of the European Union and other European leaders finish up the solution to the agreement. "We are a very democratic country and the unions have the right to strike," he said. "It all depends on the decisions of the unions." He noted that while some flights have been delayed, air traffic controllers only went on strike for one day, and that planes are arriving as normal. "We've had a great year. It's the second-best year in terms of arrivals and incoming tourists from all over the world," he added.

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