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Greek government in emergency meeting as transport strikers defy court, crippling capital


A man reads a flyer announcing a strike by metro services at the shuttered entrance of the Monastiraki Metro station in Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Striking metro workers in Athens defied a court order to return to their jobs and continued their protest for a seventh day on Wednesday, as demonstrations against new pay cuts escalated in the Greek capital. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

Greece's conservative prime minister is holding an emergency meeting to decide how to get striking public transport employees back to work.

Strikers protesting pay cuts refused to return to work Thursday, leaving Athens' subway system closed for an eighth day, despite a court decision declaring their protest illegal.

The confrontation is a challenge to the government's latest round of austerity measures, needed for continued bailout payments but which have also deepened hardship as the country enters a sixth year of recession.

The government has not ruled out forcing the strikers back to work, using special powers normally reserved for wartime or national emergencies.