ATHENS—Escalating strikes and street protests this week are testing the Greek government’s ability to see through its austerity strategy. Despite fears of social unrest, most Greeks appear to accept that severe budget cuts are inevitable in the face of the country’s debt crisis.
On Wednesday, members of a nationwide teachers union staged walkouts and demonstrated in the center of Athens.
Greek tax and court officials, sanitation workers and local-government staff are among the groups planning strikes and walkouts this week, culminating in a 24-hour general strike Thursday to protest the government’s latest spending cuts and tax increases.
The planned protests underline how Athens fighting on two fronts: To persuade international financial markets that Greece can repay its ballooning debts, and its own population to accept painful belt-tightening.
Prime Minister George Papandreou continued his efforts to win international support with a visit to Washington, meeting this week with President Barack Obama at the White House. Mr. Papandreou also met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said in a news conference with the premier, “we support Greece and the tough economic measures it is taking.”