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Greek port workers strike over plans to sell stake in major port

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ATHENS, Greece - Greek dock workers across the country walked off the job Wednesday in a 24-hour strike to protest plans to sell a stake in the Piraeus Port Authority, the country's largest port.

Hundreds of striking port workers gathered in central Athens and marched to Parliament for a protest rally. Nearby, protesting farmers' market suppliers demonstrated outside the Finance Ministry against higher taxes. Both rallies ended peacefully.

Privatizing state-held assets is a key part of Greece's international bailout agreement, under which the country has received billions of dollars in rescue loans from its partners in the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010.

In return, it has had to implement wide-ranging economic reforms and austerity measures, such as cuts to pensions and salaries as well as tax increases. Its privatization drive, however, has lagged far behind original deadlines.

Wednesday's port workers' strike was timed to coincide with a Parliament discussion on the Piraeus stake sale.

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