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Greek Workers Begin 48-Hour Strike as Parliament Vote Looms

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greece has come to a halt Tuesday as workers across the country take part in a 48-hour general strike, while lawmakers debate on another round of budget cuts to help ease the country's massive debt.

Unions are protesting a vote in Parliament that would impose $40 billion worth of austerity measures, primarily in wage cuts and tax hikes.  If it doesnt pass, Greece won't get $17 billion in bailout money, leading to a default that would have global consequences.

The vote is set to take place on Wednesday, but thousands -- ranging from civil servants to transportation workers -- have already gathered to show their discontent in Syntagma Square, outside of Greece's Parliament.

Protesters are chanting, whistling and carrying flags as they march through Athens.  Some have thrown rocks, prompting authorities to fire back with tear gas.

Riot police are standing by in case of a repeat of violence seen earlier in the month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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