Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Greek protests target US Embassy

GREEK youths hurled rocks, flares and smashed-up paving stones at police guarding the U.S. Embassy in Athens on Wednesday, during a mass rally to mark the anniversary of a 1973 anti-dictatorship uprising.

Reports The Associated Press: "Riot police used tear gas and stun grenades during the brief but violent confrontation with dozens of youths, and chased groups that dispersed down streets near the embassy building.

"At least 49 people were detained by police, authorities said, while one protester was being treated in hospital for burns.

"Groups of youths continued running clashes with riot police after the end of the march, while police helicopters with searchlights circled overhead.

"More than 6,000 officers were on duty to monitor the annual demonstration, which was generally peaceful.

"More than 20,000 people marched through central Athens, while another 12,000 protesters joined a rally in Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki. Police also reported clashes in the southern city of Patras.

"The march to the U.S. Embassy is to protest American support for the 1967-74 military rule in Greece, but this year coincided with harsh cost-cutting measures by the government, which is grappling with Greece's serious debt crisis.

"This year's demonstration took on an anti-austerity flavor, with protesters holding banners bearing slogans against the International Monetary Fund and European Union."