0926 greece
Municipality workers march with banners during a rally against cuts to local government spending on August 29, 2012 in Athens, Greece. - 

Greece has been shut down today because of a huge nationwide strike. Fifty thousand people took to the streets of Athens and police fired tear gas after violence broke out near the parliament. The issue, of course, is austerity: The very unpopular budget cuts going on as part of the solution to the debt crisis.

The country has seen relative calm in recent weeks, but this was a preemptive strike, says journalist John Psaropoulos.

"They do not approve of the idea of another $15 billion worth of new spending cuts being brought to parliament, which is expected to happen in the next few days," Psaropoulos adds.

He predicts more strikes and protests are to come, but that the government will remain on its course. "I don't think the government has any leeway to track away from the roadmap that has been laid down by the so-called troika of Greece's creditors," he says. "The government now has been put basically into a straight jacket."

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson