Greece protestors, police clash
ATHENS, Greece – Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens today as a major anti-austerity rally degenerated into violence outside Parliament, where the struggling government was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a disastrous default.
Tear gas blanketed the capital’s main Syntagma Square, where more than 25 000 people had gathered to protest a new package of tax hikes and spending cuts through 2015.
A few hundred youths smashed the windows of a luxury hotel on the square, ripped up paving stones to throw at police and hurled firebombs at cordons of riot police. Demonstrators said at least ten people were injured, and they appealed to fellow protesters to stay calm and allow ambulances through.
The protests are the epicentre of a crisis that could end in a disastrous default that would threaten the future of the eurozone and shake financial markets just as the global economy struggles to recover.
Today’s violence adds public pressure on the government at a time when Prime Minister George Papandreou also faces a party rebellion from within his governing Socialists over the new austerity. (AP)