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World News

Police use tear gas to clear workers from Acropolis

Police use tear gas to disperse workers outside the archaeological site of the Acropolis hill in Athens October 14, 2010. Greek riot police used force and tear gas to disperse about 150 protesting contract workers on Thursday who had blocked access to the Athens Acropolis to press wage claims, a Reuters eyewitness said. REUTERS/Icon/Panagiotis Tzamaros

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek riot police used force and tear gas to disperse about 150 protesting contract workers on Thursday who had blocked access to the Athens Acropolis to press wage claims, a Reuters eyewitness said.

“Police entered the site from a side door and dispersed them using tear gas grenades,” a Reuters eyewitness said. “The gate is open now, there were no injuries,” he added.

Protesters resisted and five were detained, a police official said.

The temporary workers blocked the main entrance gate to the monument, at the foot of the Acropolis, on Wednesday, saying they had been unpaid for two years. They carried banners reading “24 months unpaid” and “We want permanent status.”

Greece has been shedding temporary government workers as part of an EU/IMF bailout agreed last May to slash its deficit. State agencies often hire temps before elections without having secured funds to pay their wages.

“The protesters had changed the lock to the main gate, they were holding the keys to the Acropolis,” Deputy Culture Ministry Telemachos Hytiris told Skai television before riot police stepped in to break the standoff.

Reporting by George Karahalis; writing by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Jon Boyle

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