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Clashes break out during anti-austerity march in Athens

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 00:57

Riot police in Athens clash with protesters throwing petrol bombs after thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators marched in the Greek capital to also mark the anniversary of a bloody 1973 student revolt. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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NATURAL ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: Clashes broke out in Athens on Thursday night (Nov. 17) after thousands of Greeks vented frustration at their economic lot and marched to mark the anniversary of the bloody 1973 student uprising that helped topple the then-military junta. Clashes between police and a separate, much smaller group broke out in the streets near the Athens Polytechnic University, where dozens are believed to have been killed when tanks smashed its gates in 1973. Several dozen hooded protesters threw petrol bombs at riot police and TV images showed thick clouds of tear gas rising into the air. The annual march often becomes a focal point for protests against government policies amid rising public anger at pension and wage cuts demanded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund in exchange for loans. A group of self-proclaimed anarchist protesters occupied one of the Polytechnic University's buildings: "We won't forget the fallen of the war waged against society," they said in a statement on the Internet, referring to the financial crisis. Earlier, students, workers and pensioners had held banners reading: "We won't become a generation of unemployment and fear," reflecting widespread fury at the leftist-led government which signed up to more austerity as part a third international bailout, despite its pre-election promises. Hundreds of police had guarded the march which had started peacefully and was headed to the Embassy of the United States, which supported the seven-year military dictatorship that collapsed in 1974. At the front of the procession, individuals had held a blood-stained Greek flag which belonged to students engaged in the revolt which triggered an army crackdown. Since 2009, the debt crisis has shrunk Greece's economy by about a quarter, putting thousands of Greeks out of work and shutting down businesses. Many Greeks blame governments since the fall of the junta of driving the country to near-bankruptcy. During a commemorative session of parliament earlier, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was optimistic Greece would emerge from crisis.

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Clashes break out during anti-austerity march in Athens

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 00:57