Violence again erupts during general strike in Athens

09:01, December 16, 2010      

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A demonstrator throw petrol bombs at riot police during a protest in Athens on December 15, 2010. Police fired teargas at protesters who threw dozens of petrol bombs outside parliament on Wednesday as Greek protests against government austerity measures escalated. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

Protesters fought with police across Athens on Wednesday during a general strike over the government's latest austerity measures.

Tens of thousands of people chanting "No sacrifice for the rich!" marched in front of parliament against a new wave of austerity measures, including pay cuts, implemented to resolve a severe debt crisis in the country.

Riot police unleashed tear gas and launched flash grenades as the violence erupted outside parliament and moved to other parts of Athens.

Groups of hooded youngsters wearing ski goggles smashed the windows of hotels and banks, torched dust bins, and attacked riot police in the center of the capital with rocks.

Christmas shoppers fled as rioters tossed gas bombs wrapped in bundles of firecrackers, causing small explosions when they landed.

At least 10 people were detained and five were hurt, including a conservative politician who was beaten in the street by protesters. Two people were injured in Athens and three in Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, where another anti-austerity protest turned violent.

It was the seventh strike this year by unions upset with a wave of austerity policies meant to end Greece's worst financial crisis since World War II.

The rally staged by the two umbrella unions of public and private sector employees ADEDY and GSEE was the culmination of a string of events organized for Wednesday' s general strike.

The strike grounded flights, closed factories, disrupted hospitals and shut down trains, ferries and buses across Greece.

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