News in Brief: Doctors and State Employees on Strike in Portugal and Greece, and More …

Doctors and State Employees on Strike in Portugal and Greece

Doctors in Greece have clashed with police in a three-hour work stoppage to protest the newest round of austerity measures, which include a $22.22 billion privatization program. Greece's largest union is expected to call a general strike on May. 11. Meanwhile, in Portugal, a 24-hour strike by civil servants led to a disruption in trash collection and hospital staffing levels, reported ABC News. The strike was called by Portugal's National Federation of Civil Service Union in response to a plan to freeze public-sector pay through 2013, hike taxes and cut welfare benefits in return for a financial rescue package from other EU member states.

International Loans Approved for Libyan Rebels

The NATO coalition fighting Colonel Qaddafi's forces has agreed to loan Libya's rebels around $250 million. The Transitional National Council, as the opposition group fighting for control of Libya is called, originally appealed for up to $3 billion, half of which would be set aside for basic humanitarian supplies. Mahmoud Jabril, the rebel leader, said the decision was a step toward international recognition of the movement, reported Democracy Now!.

Syrian “Day of Defiance” Friday

Syrian protesters have continued to resist government crackdowns, as protests have erupted in several cities on the planned “Day of Defiance” Friday. Despite the deployment of large numbers of troops, protests have erupted in several Syrian cities. Six people have been killed in the unrest so far, and a prominent dissident has been arrested, reported the BBC. More than 500 people have been killed and 2,500 detained in the seven weeks since the Syrian government's violent crackdown began.

Hundreds in Mexico Stage Marches to Protest Drug War

More than 600 people are marching from the resort city of Cuernavaca to Mexico City Friday to protest the country's continuing drug violence, which has taken more than 34,000 lives since December 2006. Led by a Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed by suspected drug traffickers, the group is carrying signs reading “Stop the War,” Mexican flags and photos of loved ones killed by the war, reported The Associated Press. The silent march will be 50 miles long; the group is expected to arrive in Mexico City on Sunday.