Public services across Greece were crippled Wednesday as the country's two major unions staged a 24-hour general strike amid rising public anger and wavering internal support for the Socialist government's latest austerity program. The strike shuttered schools, central and local government offices around the country, while hospitals were operating on skeleton staff. Port and public transport services were disrupted, while a walkout by journalists forced most morning news programming off the air. Small businesses and retailers were expected to join in the strike later Wednesday, while workers at state-owned companies slated for privatization have also walked off the job. Greece's two umbrella unionsprivate sector GSEE and its public sector counterpart, ADEDYare planning mass rallies in the center of Athens later in the day, with police on high alert amid fears of violence. "The unions demand the immediate withdrawal of the new, harsh and unjust measures that the government is proposing," the unions said in a joint statement. "GSEE and ADEDY are continuing their struggle to reject these anti-worker and antisocial measures."