Greek protests paralyze ports, streets markets

ATHENS, Greece – A growing wave of strikes and protests against a planned overhaul of the pension system in Greece has halted services at the country’s ports for two days, while popular neighbourhood farmers’ markets were cancelled.

Ferry services were cancelled by strikes Wednesday and Thursday, as more unions and professional associations joined the anti-government protests.

On Wednesday, farmers continued tractor blockades of highways around the country, while striking street market vendors drew large crowds near Athens where they handed out bags of fruit and vegetables for free.

Eurozone bailout lenders are pressing Greece’s left-wing government to overhaul its pension system, suffering under high unemployment, a fast-aging population and 2012 Greek debt restructuring deal that hurt pension fund investments.