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Greece: Protests as state clinics close for month

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Photo - Protesters applaud a speaker during a protest outside Health Ministry in Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Several thousand supporters of a Communist labor union marched in central Athens Tuesday to protest an overhaul of the country's national health system that has led to months of strikes. The government has ordered a shake up of the main health care fund EOPYY, stopping the agency's direct involvement on care provision. The changes were introduced as part of the country's bailout commitments. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Protesters applaud a speaker during a protest outside Health Ministry in Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Several thousand supporters of a Communist labor union marched in central Athens Tuesday to protest an overhaul of the country's national health system that has led to months of strikes. The government has ordered a shake up of the main health care fund EOPYY, stopping the agency's direct involvement on care provision. The changes were introduced as part of the country's bailout commitments. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
News,World,Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Several thousand protesters have joined a demonstration in central Athens after the Health Ministry ordered the closure of the country's entire state-run outpatient clinic network for one month to reorganize the health system.

The protest organized by a Communist labor union ended peacefully Tuesday outside the ministry.

The health care overhaul is part a massive cost-cutting campaign promised by the government as part of agreements for international bailouts that started in 2010.

The clinic closures started Monday and do not affect operations at state hospitals. Some 8,500 medical and administrative clinic staff have been suspended on reduced pay during the closure.

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