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Sunday 4 December 2016

Police petrol-bombed as protesters voice anger

Published 16/07/2015 | 02:30

Riot police stand amongst the flames from exploded petrol bombs thrown by a small group of anti-establishment demonstrators in front of parliament in Athens yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Riot police stand amongst the flames from exploded petrol bombs thrown by a small group of anti-establishment demonstrators in front of parliament in Athens yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Masked anti-establishment youths and anti-austerity protesters face riot police during clashes in Athens
Tsipras

Greek anti-establishment protesters threw stones and dozens of petrol bombs at police in front of parliament yesterday before a key vote on a bailout deal, in some of the most serious violence seen in more than two years.

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Police responded with tear gas, sending hundreds of people fleeing in central Syntagma Square, Athens.

Garbage cans and a vehicle belonging to a television crew were also set on fire.

The clashes were brief and calm largely returned to the square, with a few hundred protesters staying on under heavy police surveillance.

Earlier, thousands took to the streets of Athens in a series of otherwise peaceful marches during the day, to protest against the new bailout deal that saved Greece from bankruptcy but will impose more reforms on a country already deep in crisis.

Once a common sight in protest marches in Greece, clashes with police have been rare since the leftist Syriza party came to power in January.

About 30 people were detained in the demonstration, a police source said. Just before the clashes, protesters marched banners reading 'Cancel the bailout!' and 'No to the policies of the EU, the ECB and the IMF'.

Pharmacists pulled down their shutters across Greece and civil servants walked off their jobs in protest in a 24-hour strike against reforms.

"Further austerity is unacceptable," said Stavros Koutsioubelis, a spokesman for the ADEDY public sector union.

Opposition on the streets has so far been limited, however, and an opinion poll published on Tuesday suggested that more than 70pc of people wanted parliament to approve the bailout.

"The measures should be adopted by parliament so that stability can come back," said 30-year-old cook Yannis Zafiriadis.

"We have to give Tsipras the chance to complete the four years we elected him to govern for. Only afterwards should he be judged, on completion."

Irish Independent

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