Thursday, March 11, 2010

Greece hit by strikes, riots over austerity plan

clipped from

ATHENS, Greece – Serious street clashes erupted between rioting youths and police in central Athens Thursday as some 30,000 people demonstrated during a nationwide strike against the cash-strapped government's austerity measures.

Hundreds of masked and hooded youths punched and kicked motorcycle police, knocking several off their bikes, as riot police responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades.

The violence spread after the end of the march to a nearby square, where police faced off with stone-throwing anarchists and suffocating clouds of tear gas sent patrons scurrying from open-air cafes.

A riot police officer tries to avoid a stone and a flare during clashes in

Rioters used sledge hammers to smash the glass fronts of more than a dozen shops, banks, jewelers and a cinema. Youths also set fire to rubbish bins and a car, smashed bus stops, and chopped blocks off marble balustrades and building facades to use as projectiles.

"These measures will not be effective and will throw the economy into deep freeze."

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