Vi­o­lence mars peace­ful protests

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Fol­low­ing three weeks of peace­ful protests in the cap­i­tal, Athe­ni­ans yes­ter­day wit­nessed the fa­mil­iar scene of demon­stra­tors clash­ing with po­lice in Syn­tagma Square amid a ma­jor se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion to stop those who wanted to pre­vent MPs from en­ter­ing Par­lia­ment.

Some 4,000 po­lice of­fi­cers lined the cen­tral square and the streets around it in an at­tempt to thwart pro­test­ers’ plans to form a hu­man chain around Par­lia­ment. The so-called In­dig­nant, who have been peace­fully oc­cu­py­ing the area in front of the House ev­ery evening for the last three weeks, had wanted to pre­vent MPs from en­ter­ing Par­lia­ment to dis­cuss the medium-term fis­cal plan, which in­tro­duces new aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

The protest co­in­cided with a gen­eral strike and ral­lies by the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor unions GSEE and ADEDY, lead­ing to the pres­ence of more than 20,000 peo­ple in the city cen­ter. It also ap­peared to give li­cense to more ex­treme anti-es­tab­lish­ment el­e­ments, who have been ab­sent from protests for the last few weeks, to join the crowds. This led to scuf­fles out­side of Par­lia­ment, where po­lice had erected a mo­bile fence to ob­struct demon­stra­tors, and at other points in the city cen­ter, in­clud­ing near the Fi­nance Min­istry.

Kathimerini and Skai TV jour­nal­ist Ta­sos Tel­loglou was among 43 peo­ple in­jured dur­ing dis­tur­bances.

Of those taken to the hos­pi­tal, 33 were suf­fer­ing from breath­ing prob­lems or light in­juries. Riot po- lice made ex­ten­sive use of tear gas in a bid to dis­perse crowds.

In un­prece­dented scenes, there were clashes be­tween pro­test­ers as well as with po­lice. Peo­ple aligned with the peace­ful In­dig­nant move­ment at­tempted to stop both ex­treme right-and left-wing groups from dis­rupt­ing the demon­stra­tions. This led to fight­ing be­tween those tak­ing part in the protest. Some also threw mis­siles at the po­lice.

Tel­loglou was punched as he was walk­ing along a street near Syn­tagma. He was taken to the hos­pi­tal, where he was treated for bruis­ing and shock.

Last night, thou­sands of peace­ful pro­test­ers had re­turned to Syn­tagma Square, where a num­ber of mu­si­cians were hold­ing a free con­cert.

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