May 6, 2006

Police use teargas to disperse Athens protesters

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas to disperse
youths throwing petrol bombs as thousands of anti-globalisation
demonstrators marched through central Athens on Saturday at the
end of a European political convention.

Police said one Italian protester was rushed to hospital
with injuries from the clashes that dominated Athens streets
for hours while one policeman was slightly wounded by a petrol

Two police vehicles were burned and a branch of Citibank
was set on fire on central Alexandras Avenue. Self-proclaimed
anarchist youths also threw stones, sticks and petrol bombs at
the British embassy and wrecked several shops.

A McDonald's restaurant in central Syndagma Square and the
Athens Hilton Hotel were also attacked.

"We have 20 protesters under arrest and they are being
taken to a prosecutor," said a police spokesman who requested

Police said almost 10,000 marched through the city at the
end of a three-day meeting of the European Social Forum --
attended by thousands of left-wing politicians, peace and
environmental groups -- discussing political, labor and race

At least 8,000 police officers were deployed in the Greek
capital as marchers waving banners and flags made their way to
the U.S. embassy to protest against Washington's policies in
Iraq and Iran.

Police helicopters patrolled overhead, streets were empty
and shop owners, fearing vandalism, closed their businesses.
Protest marches in Athens often turn violent when groups of
anarchists clash with police.