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New fighting in Athens erupts as angry youths battle police

Protesters wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas  gather around a car they turned over in Athens on Thursday.

Associated Press

Protesters wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas gather around a car they turned over in Athens on Thursday.

ATHENS, Greece — Masked youths set up burning barricades and threw fire bombs and chunks of marble at riot police Thursday, after a protest march erupted into new fighting that sent Christmas shoppers and parents fleeing to safety.

Mothers snatched children from a carousel in the main square. Waiters stumbled from cafes choking on tear gas fired by police at rioters trying to burn the capital's Christmas tree, replaced just days ago after another tree was torched.

After two weeks of unrelenting rioting set off by the fatal police shooting of a teenager, a slogan spray-painted outside the Bank of Greece summed up the mood as Greeks prepared for Christmas: "Merry crisis and a happy new fear."

But protesters' call for Europe-wide demonstrations of support — urged in banners defiantly unfurled from the ancient Acropolis on Wednesday — met with no apparent response.

The Dec. 6 death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos unleashed rage that has fed off widespread dissatisfaction with economic hardship, social inequality and the unpopular conservative government's policies.

Dozens arrested in student protests

French police arrested 38 people in the French city of Lyon on Thursday when a student protest against education reform turned violent, authorities said. Education Minister Xavier Darcos promised consultations on the planned reform of the secondary school curriculum amid government fears that France could experience widespread protests like the ones that have rocked Greece in the past week. About 150,000 demonstrators across France hit the streets to protest the reforms, which include proposals to cut classroom hours and divide the school year into two semesters, the National Union of Secondary Schools (UNL) said. Police estimated the nationwide turnout at 127,000.

Associated Press

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Dozens arrested in student protests

French police arrested 38 people in the French city of Lyon on Thursday when a student protest against education reform turned violent, authorities said. Education Minister Xavier Darcos promised consultations on the planned reform of the secondary school curriculum amid government fears that France could experience widespread protests like the ones that have rocked Greece in the past week. About 150,000 demonstrators across France hit the streets to protest the reforms, which include proposals to cut classroom hours and divide the school year into two semesters, the National Union of Secondary Schools (UNL) said. Police estimated the nationwide turnout at 127,000.

Associated Press

New fighting in Athens erupts as angry youths battle police 12/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 1:05pm]
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