Athens. (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
A special police water cannon was deployed to control rioting that began in Athens’ Exarchia district and around the Athens Polytechnic building on Saturday evening, after the events marking the 45th anniversary of the November 17, 1973 student uprising at the Polytechnic.
Police were dousing Patission Street with water on the side of the Polytechnic where several people had gathered, throwing firebombs, stones and pieces of marble against police, who replied with flash grenades and teargas to disperse the rioters.
Rioting was also underway throughout the Exarchia district, with Greek police drones and a police helicopter flying over certain points.
The rioting broke out around the Polytechnic building and the Exarchia district, with youths lobbing stones and fire bombs at police from the grounds of the Polytechnic and incidents reported on Stournari, Tositsa and Tsamadou streets. Those involved had set up roadblocks and were throwing firebombs, stones and various other objects at police.
Meanwhile, traffic police announced that all roads in central Athens had reopened except Patission Street, between Omonia and the start of Alexandras Avenue, though traffic along both lanes of Alexandras Avenue is moving normally.
Rioting was also reported after the annual protest march to the US Consulate in Thessaloniki, where protestors again holed up in the city’s Polytechnic, lit fires and set up roadblocks from which they attacked police with stones, firebombs and other items. Police responded with heavy use of tear gas, filling the air with smoke and choking fumes.
The 45th anniversary march in Patras similarly ended with scuffles in the city centre, during which five people were detained by the authorities.
Student unions, members of ruling SYRIZA and other parties, leftist organisations, trade unionists and others took part in the march, shouting slogans against fascism, nazism and the far right and opposition to NATO and the United States.
The main body of the march had reached the US Embassy in Athens at around 18:00 while an earlier bloc carrying the bloodstained flag of the Polytechnic had arrived first at 16:30.
A separate march was organised by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) that started with a rally in Omonia, with KKE General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas attending.
The SYRIZA bloc included ministers and MPs, including Digital Policy and Media Minister Nikos Pappas, Alternate Defence Minister Panos Rigas, SYRIZA Secretary and MP Panos Skourletis and SYRIZA MP Anneta Kavvadia. Tension erupted between the SYRIZA bloc and another group of protestors when it reached the U.S. Embassy.
There were also incidents between protestors and police at the tail end of the march and tear gas was used, while according to Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) sources, two people were injured and were picked up by an ambulance.
The city centre was blocked to traffic, while the Megaro Mousikis, Evangelismos and Syntagma metro stations have been closed at the orders of the police.