General strike shuts down services across Greece; flights grounded, ferries tied up in ports

A nationwide general strike to protest continued austerity measures has shut down services across Greece, grounding flights, leaving ferries tied up in ports, shutting down schools and leaving state hospitals functioning with emergency staff.

Thursday's 24-hour general strike was also disrupting public transport in the country's capital, Athens, snarling traffic. Two protest marches were planned in the center of the city later in the morning.

Greece has been dependent on billions of euros from international bailouts from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund since 2010. In return, it has had to cut spending and raise taxes to reform the economy

Labor unions called the strike ahead of a parliamentary debate next month on the country's 2015 budget, which includes the continuation of the austerity measures.