Monday, January 22, 2018

Violence breaks out at Greek anti-austerity demo

ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of youths pelted riot police with firebombs, bottles and chunks of marble Thursday as yet another Greek anti-austerity demonstration descended into violence, less than a month after more intense clashes broke out during a similar protest.

Authorities said about 70,000 protesters took to the street in two separate demonstrations in Athens during the country's second general strike in a month as workers nationwide walked off the job to protest new austerity measures the government is negotiating with Greece's international creditors.

Thursday's strike was timed to coincide with a European Union summit in Brussels later in the day, at which Greece's economic fate was expected to feature large.

Riot police responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades in the capital's Syntagma Square outside Parliament as protesters scattered during the clashes, which continued on and off for about an hour. Another general strike in late September had also seen limited, but much more intense, clashes between protesters and police.

Hundreds of police had been deployed in the Greek capital ahead of the demonstration. Police said seven people were arrested Thursday, out of more than 100 detained.

The strike grounded flights, shut down public services, closed schools, hospitals and shops and hampered public transport in the capital.

Athens has seen hundreds of anti-austerity protests over the past three years, since Greece revealed it had been misreporting its public finance figures. The country has been surviving since then with the help of two massive international bailouts.

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