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article imageTear gas and Molotov cocktails as Greek protesters attack banks

By R. C. Camphausen     May 1, 2010 in Politics
Athens - Thousands of protesters gathered in Greek cities today, attacking banks and businesses, trying to gain entrance into the finance ministry. Flames, smoke and war-cries made May 1 in Athens almost look like Bangkok in the last weeks.
While May 1, Labor Day, usually sees part of the Greek population protest and demonstrate, today was more violent than usual because of the financial situation the nation finds itself in, and because of the so-called austerity measures that have yet again been announced.
A trade union march marking this year's May Day turned rather violent when protesters clashed with police, especially when they tried to break through a line of anti-riot officers protecting the finance ministry. Both sides forcefully clashed in scenes that reminds on of Paris in 1968. Police had to use teargas in both Athens and Thessaloniki to keep the angry populace under control, yet protesters were also armed and sometimes used Molotov cocktails to attack the police.
Mast interesting to was the fact that banks were often attacked and damaged, showing that Greeks are aware of where some of the culprits responsible for the state's abysmal situation come from. The general feeling among the proverbial 'man in the street' is that they'd rather have the nation default than being bailed out, because such a default would hit banks, big business and the ultra-rich, among which one also finds the orthodox church.
Sources:
France 24, BBC, Al Jazeera
What's a Molotov cocktail?
Derisively named after Soviet politician Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986), such a cocktail - now often called petrol bomb - was first used in the war between Finland and the Soviet Union. It is a simple yet sometimes effective device consisting of a glass bottle filled with fuel and a wick to ignite it. For those wanting to know more about it, there's an extensive Wikipedia entry.
More about Protests, Areopoli, Greece, Tax cuts, Default
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