ATHENS, Greece, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Thousands of workers in Greece joined a general strike Wednesday that affected services in transportation, schools, banks and hospitals, officials said.
The ninth general strike held to protest austerity budget cuts came as Prime Minister George Papandreou prepared to visit European leaders to ask that terms for Greece's $153 billion bailout loan be extended, Radio France Internationale reported Wednesday.
Strikes disrupted railroad and airline services. Athens News reported that buses and trains would stop running Wednesday, but ISAP trains would run from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. to bring demonstrators into urban centers.
Air traffic was expected to halt through the middle of the day.
One of Greece's two principal trade unions, GSEE, said in a statement, "We demand a mixture of economic policy that will boost employment, incomes, social and labor rights and social cohesion."