The Associated Press February 23, 2010, 4:05AM ET

Protesters blockade Greek stock exchange

Members of a trade union on Monday blockaded the Athens Stock Market to protest government austerity measures aimed at tackling Greece's debt crisis.

Protest organizers, backed by the Greek Communist Party, said they plan to maintain the blockade through Tuesday, but stock market officials said the exchange was running normally through online trading.

Trading on the Athens exchange runs from 08:15 GMT (03:15 EST) to 15:20 GMT.

The blockade occurred ahead of a 24-hour general strike called by the country's main unions, which is set to halt public services and ground flights, adding to Europe's airline travel disruption caused by walkouts elsewhere.

Police did not intervene to end the protest at the exchange.

Giorgos Perros, a protest organizer, said the government measures unfairly burdened low-income Greeks.

"The stock market building will not open today ... We believe these stock market indices -- gauges of wealth -- should halt for a day," Perros said.


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