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Feb 23 – Greece: Still Clashes at Syntagma Sq (pcts videos)

18:10 Tension and new clashes erupted again as some 1,000 protesters are still at Syntagma Square opposite the Greek Parliament. Police fired again teargas and angry protesters stripped out some benches form the park. Majority of the people participating at the huge rally have left the area. While the estimated number of participants varies from 30,000 to 60,000 and there are not official reports, organizers saw a huge crowd of people marching through the streets of Athens downtown holding banners and chanting slogans.

            Photjournalist on fire

Except the common slogan “Thieves, Thieves” and “I didn’t robe anyone, why are you hitting me”, people chanted against PM George Papandreou:”Georgy leave like Ben-Ali” and “Step down as PM, come and leave with €700 like a driver”.

 

   Riot-policeman on fire

The Athens downtown was turned into a battle field when clashes erupted between security forces and ‘protesters’. Riot police made excessive use  tear gas and hooded protesters threw stones and hurled molotov cocktails and petrol bombs, set trash-bins on fire and caused damage at some shops.

    Rioters and Riot-Police

People wearing hoods often get involved into clashes with the police and turn every peaceful demonstrations into a tear gas chamber.

    Police, Protester – Teargas, Banner-stick

There have been 10 detentions and 5 arrests. Three policemen were injured and two police motorbikes were burned down.  There are no reports about injured protesters, although many complained about tearing eyes and respiratory difficulties due to the tear gas.

Glory of Twitter

Today’s protest coverage was the glorification of Social Media, especially Twitter as mainstream media had joined the striking front. Dozens if not hundreds of people, uploaded pictures and videos, diligently Tweeting and Re-Tweeting to inform the public about the what was going on in Athens and other Greek cities. Twitter hashtag < #23fgr > became very popular.

Video: March of Labor Unions

 

 Although private and public sector labor unions had called also unorganized people for a massive participation at the rally, many preferred to stay home or just …work. The strict austerity measures have divided the society somehow and many in the private sector blame the civil servants for the state overspending and Greece’s huge debt.

A Twitter user wrote: “Today the public sector protested downtown, while the private sector commented via Twitter.”

See more pictures here

Video: Clashes

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