November 18, 2011 - 09:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Masked youths clashed with riot police outside Greece's parliament and the U.S. embassy Thursday, November 17, as thousands of austerity-weary Greeks marched through Athens in an annual commemoration of a bloody student uprising in the 1970s.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the rioters, and some 78 people were detained for questioning. Eleven people were arrested. Police also reported four injured police officers. A young protester was reportedly hospitalized after injuring both legs in an attempt to evade police.
Some 28,000 people took part in the march, according to police estimates, making it one of the biggest Nov. 17 protests in years. Seven thousand officers were monitoring the crowd.
With loan-dependent Greece heading for its fourth year of recession and saddled with record unemployment, the demonstration was the first test of public sentiment for the new coalition government of Lucas Papademos, a technocrat enjoying widespread popularity, according to polls.
November 17 annual protest commemorates the squashing of a pro-democracy student uprising in 1973 by the military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-74 - and whose backing from the U.S. still rankles in the country. But the embassy march has traditionally served as a vent for anti-government protests that often turn violent.
About 15,000 people took part in a similar protest in the northern city of Thessaloniki that turned violent when a couple of hundred anarchists threw projectiles and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas. No injuries have been observed, The State reported.