Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Athens during a 24-hour nationwide strike on 4 February in protest over a pensions overhaul. Workers, self-employed professionals, farmers and pensioners that participated are demanding an end to austerity, sparking a major backlash against embattled Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The leftist-led government's pension reform plan has slashed workers' salaries and recalculated pensions to meet fiscal targets set by the country's foreign creditors.

The strike was organised by the country's main labour unions, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the Civil Servants' Confederation (ADEDY) and the Communist party-affiliated trade union, All-Workers Militant Front (PAME).

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A firebomb explodes beside a riot police member during a massive protest in Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
A lawyer holds his briefcase during a 24-hour general strike in Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
A firebomb burns out beside a riot police member during a protest in Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
Thousands of protesters march during a massive protest rally in Athens, GreeceLoisia Goiliamaki/ AFP
Greece economy strike
A riot police member walks through petrol-bomb fire beside the Greek parliament during the protests in Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
Protesters from the Communist-affiliated trade union PAME march during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms in central Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
Petrol bombs thrown by demonstrators explode near riot police officers in Syntagma Square, during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms in Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
A demonstrator gasps for breath after inhaling tear gas during the protest in front of the Greek parliament in Athens, GreeceAngelos Tzortzinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
A firebomb explodes next to riot police during clashes with demonstrators in Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
Protesting journalists demonstrate against planned pension reforms in front of the Labour ministry in Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
Riot police react to petrol bombs thrown by masked youths in Syntagma Square during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms in Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
A protester covers his face to avoid breathing tear gas during clashes marking a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms in Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters

Carrying banners and flags and chanting anti-bailout and anti-government slogans, the people of Athens continued to show their distrust and anger at their government by throwing petrol bombs and causing havoc.

The Greek government has a thin parliamentary majority, and wants to conclude the review swiftly to start talks on debt relief and convince Greeks that their sacrifices are paying off. The Greek people are still not convinced however, as pensions have been slashed 11 times since 2010 and the jobless rate is in Greece is 25%, forcing workers, mainly the self-employed, into tax evasion.

"These measures they are trying to pass cannot be borne, how can people shoulder this pension burden? It's just not possible," said 37-year-old Vassilis, who is self-employed.

Pensioner Nikolaos Ginis added: "With 40 years of work, I get a pension of €740 (£568, $827) per month... after 40 years of working! That's why they (the government) should be hanged at Syntagma (Square). We should hang them today."

As the strike progressed, flights were stopped, hospitals ran on emergency staff, ferries stayed docked at ports and shops pulled down their shutters.

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A man sits outside a closed shop as demonstrators clash with riot police in Athens, GreeceAris Messinis/ AFP
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Riot police members walk through tear gas in central Athens during the Greek protestsLouisa Gouliamaki/ AFP
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A riot policeman protects the Bank of Greece building during clashes with protestersYannis Behrakis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
People try to breath after inhaling tear gas during a massive protest in front of the Greek parliament in AthensAngelos Tzortzinis/ AFP
Greece economy strike
Riot policemen in Athens, Greece, protect a bank damaged by masked protesters during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reformsYannis Behrakis/ Reuters
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A protester carries a loudspeaker during a demonstration by unemployed workers against planned pension reforms in front of the Labour ministry in Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
Greece economy strike
Prosthetics are placed in front of the Labour Ministry by disabled Greeks during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms. The banner hangs above reads: "Movement for emancipation of people with special needs".Michalis Karagiannis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
Demonstrators march during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms in Athens, GreeceAlkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters
Greece economy strike
Demonstrators hold banners during a massive protest beside the Greek parliament during a massive protest in Athens, GreeceLoisia Goiliamaki/ AFP
Greece economy strike
A lawyer shouts a slogan during a 24-hour general strike in Athens, GreeceAngelos Tzortzinis/ AFP