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Home | Friday 17th December 2010 | Issue 752

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A COCKTAIL OF TWO CITIES

Molotov-happy Greeks set Athens in flames on Wednesday (15th), as the country was gripped by another general strike.

With a new labour law, state repression and austerity cuts fuelling the dissent, the strike began at 11am with crowds congregating in the district of Exarcheia. The bar was set high early on as the Ministry of Economics in Athens was set on fire by a molotov blitz.

All stately cars in front of the luxurious Grand Bretagne and the Saint George hotels, which are situated in front of Parliament, were burned. The hotel entrances were also attacked with fire, while police were used as molotov targets.

At this point the police split the demonstration using tear gas and brute force. People returned to Parliament anyway and burned the riot police bus situated in front of the national garden next to Parliament. Near the Polytechnic a Delta motorcycle force was attacked by protesters when they drove into the demo.

By mid-afternoon, the district of Exarcheia was overrun by rioters and it was impossible to enter the area. Even after police retook the area, skirmishes continued by the University of Economics and around the Polytechnic. Protesters returning from the demonstration tried to occupy the offices of the General Confederation of Workers but the anti-riot team got in the way.

Reports state 23 people were detained in Athens and of those, 10 were arrested and face charges. Another 20 were arrested in Thessaloniki. One protester ended up hospitalised after being run over by a police moped.

The demo saw police make use of a water-cannon vehicle for the first time. A new tactic used by the demonstrators was the use of fire extinguishers to keep police away. Vast amounts of tear-gas were used by police to try and control the crowds that are reported to have reached numbers as high as 200,000.



 

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