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Daily protests clogging Greek capital, say police

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Member of pro-communist union PAME chant anti austerity slogans outside the Greek parliament during a protest in Athens, last Thursday.

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ATHENS, Greece  — The government says small protests are blocking streets in central Athens at a rate of twice a day, and is calling on unions to help draw up new guidelines to keep traffic running.

Public Order Minister Nikolaos Dendias said today that in 2012 traffic was stopped in Athens by 796 separate demonstrations, each attended by fewer than 200 people.

Dendias met the leader of Greece’s largest union, the GSEE, and said the government planned to introduce legislation to prevent small public rallies from blocking traffic.

Although major protest rallies are now less frequent than at the start of the financial crisis in late 2009, small demonstrations remain common in a country that lost an average of nearly 700 jobs a day in 2012.

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