Police fired tear gas as angry protesters clashed with officers in Athens as thousands rallied in the Greek capital in protest against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit. Merkel is in Athens for austerity talks with the country's Prime Minister.
Angry protesters picked stones from the cracked pavement and hurled them at police, who responded with tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades. AFP estimated that at least 25,000 people turned out to express their anger at Greece’s austerity policies.
Demonstrators hoisted banners reading, “Merkel out, Greece is not your colony” and “This is not a European Union, it's slavery.”
Teachers, doctors and other public employees went on strike Tuesday, taking to the streets of Athens alongside trade unions and opposition political parties. Many Greeks say they cannot take more of the wage cuts and tax hikes that have left every fourth person in the public sector jobless.
“They've turned our lives into hell,” one the protesters told Reuters. “We don't want [Merkel] here.”
Two Nazi flags were set on fire near parliament as demonstrators chanted, “No to the Fourth Reich!”
The rallies were mostly peaceful, but police briefly clashed with several dozen demonstrators. Around 200 people were detained in Athens, including students and members of a ‘Solidarity Network’ protest bloc.