ATHENS (Reuters) - Dozens of black-clad protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens on Thursday, smashing shop windows, throwing petrol bombs and burning cars after an anti-government march, the first since the leftist Syriza party took power a month ago.
Around 450 far-left protesters took to the streets of Athens against the newly elected left-right coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which agreed a deal with EU partners last week to extend an aid program to Athens.
The deal has triggered dissent within Tsipras’ own party and accusations by some on the hard left that the government is going back on pre-election promises, including to end a much-hated 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout program.
After the march, about 50 anti-establishment protesters wearing hoods hurled petrol bombs and stones at police in Athens’ central Exarchate district, a Bohemian quarter known as a haunt for artists and left-wing intellectuals.
A small number of shop windows and bus stops were also smashed or damaged during the violence.
The incidents, albeit on a small scale, mark the first public disorder against the leftist government, which was elected on Jan 25 on a promise to write off a chunk of the country’s debt and end painful austerity which has helped push one in four Greeks out of work.
Reporting By Vasillis Triandafyllou, writing by Costas Pitas, editing by Andrew Heavens