Sirens blaring, striking municipal police officers brought traffic to a standstill across central Athens on Monday as part of mounting protests against new government cuts.
The officers parked their motorcycles and patrol cars outside parliament, government buildings and the offices of the governing center-right New Democracy party and its Socialist coalition partner. The noisy start-and-stop protest lasted more than five hours.
It launched a week of planned demonstrations against the latest round of austerity measures that will impose staff cuts on teachers and local government. Municipal authorities across Greece _ including the Athens municipal police, who are generally tasked with checking parking violations and checking street vendors _ have suspended services for three days, while unions have called a general strike for Tuesday.