May 12, 2011 / 5:20 PM / 8 years ago

Greek policemen suspended in brutality probe

Riot policemen run through a cloud of teargas to avoid an exploding petrol bomb during clashes with youths in central Athens May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Three Greek policemen were suspended in a brutality investigation on Thursday and thousands marched to parliament to protest against the serious injury of a demonstrator during a strike protest a day before.

A Reuters journalist at the scene said a few dozen people broke off from the march of about 3,000 in central Athens and clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas to disperse them.

Earlier, police said three policemen were suspended after Internet images surfaced of them hitting and kicking a protester during an anti-austerity march in Athens on Wednesday.

Police clashed with protesters during the Wednesday march, firing several rounds of tear gas to disperse youths hurling stones and bottles, while senior EU and IMF envoys began talks with the government on stepping up fiscal reforms.

Police said two policemen and 17 demonstrators were hurt in the clashes. One protester suffered serious head injuries and was in critical but stable condition after brain surgery.

“We identified the three policemen who exhibited brutal behavior against a citizen participating in yesterday’s march,” the Greek police said in a statement.

“The policemen and their commanding officer were immediately suspended and a criminal investigation was launched.”

A video posted on the Internet shows policemen kicking and striking a protester on the ground with batons. He was not identified. here

Three policemen were also slightly injured in scuffles with protesters at the hospital where the seriously injured demonstrator was being treated, police said late on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ingrid Melander and Renee Maltezou; editing by Mark Heinrich

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