Greek protest turns violent during general strike
ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Violence has erupted in Greece after an anti-government rally in Athens that drew about 50,000 people.
Riot police used tear gas and pepper spray against several hundred demonstrators near the parliament. Protesters threw bottles and fire bombs and smashed paving stones and marble panels to toss at police. They also set fire to trees in the National Gardens.
Shopkeepers, teachers, customs workers and car mechanics were among those taking part in the march in central Athens, held during a general strike against new austerity measures. It’s the first large-scale walk-out since the country’s coalition government was formed in June.
The strike shut down Greece’s most famous tourist site, the Acropolis, and halted flights for hours. Ferry services were suspended, schools, shops and gas stations were closed and hospitals were functioning on emergency staff.
As the strike got under way today, the prime minister and finance minister worked out a package of nearly $15 billion in spending cuts. The country’s international lenders are demanding fiscal reforms before they make any more rescue payouts.