Over 30,000 protesters marched on Wednesday to the parliament building to protest the government’s recent austerity policies aimed at easing the country’s debt burden.
“We’ve reached our limits! We can’t make ends meet,” said unemployed Yannis Tsourounakis, who has three children. “Our future is a nightmare if we don’t overturn these policies.”
The police fired tear gas and flash bombs in an attempt to disperse crowds throwing rocks and firebombs and to block them from getting close to the parliament building, AP reported.
In the city’s main Syntagma Square, a police officer’s uniform and motorcycle were set on fire. However, he was rescued by his colleagues.
At least five people have been reported injured, while another 20 were detained.
The strike has affected hospital and school services, resulting in the closure of public administrative offices and even transportation systems.
Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou agreed to adopt austerity measures in return for bailout loans worth EUR 110 billion by the EU and the IMF last May.
The cuts have led to a deepening recession in Greece and throwing into doubt the country’s ability to meet its loan obligations.