ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Hundreds of youths attacked police in Greece’s two largest cities on Friday, hurling rocks, flares and gas bombs, following a large, peaceful march to mark the anniversary of the 1973 crackdown on a student uprising against Greece’s former military dictatorship.
At least two people were injured.
In Athens, protesters hurled dozens of gas bombs as they confronted police in the city’s narrow streets. Police fired tear gas at the protesters. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests. A woman was hospitalized with burns in Athens after being hit in the thigh with a flare.
Violence also broke out in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, where a motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital after driving into a barricade set up by protesters.
More than 5,000 officers were on duty for annual march in the Greek capital to the U.S. Embassy, which commemorates those who died in the crackdown by the 1967-74 junta. The sidewalk outside the embassy was blocked off by police buses.
The annual march is often used as a means of expressing displeasure with policies of the Greek, European and American governments. Several groups marched along the same route in Athens, with police estimating their number at about 11,000.
“Resistance against fascism forever,” read one banner, while protesters chanted “Americans, murderers of the people!”
In Thessaloniki, demonstrators burned an American flag outside the U.S. consulate and police said 9,000 took part in rallies.
The Athens rally began at the National Technical University of Athens, where the junta had once sent a tank to crush the entrance gate as it cracked down on rebellious students. During Friday’s march, the crowd turned against protesters from the governing Syriza party, pelting them with eggs and plastic bottles.
Across town, some anarchists rushed into the heavily guarded perimeter of the Greek Defense Ministry and scattered anti-war fliers. No arrests were reported.
Costas Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki. Derek Gatopoulos and Thanassis Stavrakis in Athens contributed.
Follow Becatoros at http://www.twitter.com/ElenaBec and Kantouris at http://twitter.com/CostasKantouris