Greek Demonstrations Erupt in Violence

Monday, December 07, 2009

Riot police threw tear gas at masked youth in Athens today, after the protestors had smashed store windows and hurled rocks and firebombs at officers. The clashes come a year after the fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

The demonstration of about 3,000 people, mostly high-school students, was initially a peaceful one in the center of Athens.

The Associated Press reports that rioters smashed bank windows, overturned trash bins and set them on fire Sunday as they hurled rocks and fire crackers at riot police. Authorities said 134 people were detained for public-order offences in Athens. Another 80 are being held in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where a similar demonstration degenerated into violence.

Masked protesters broke into Athens University and pulled down a Greek flag, replacing it with a black-and-red anarchist banner. The university dean was injured when the youths broke in, and was hospitalized in an intensive care unit, authorities said.

Last night, about 200 masked demonstrators sat in at the neoclassical university building, smashing marble chunks off the university steps and ripping up paving stones from the courtyard to use as missiles against the police.

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