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Police and anarchists clash in Athens as 17,000 mark 1973 uprising

Published 17/11/2016

Greek riot police officers run through a blaze lit by a firebomb thrown by protesters during clashes in Athens (AP)
Greek riot police officers run through a blaze lit by a firebomb thrown by protesters during clashes in Athens (AP)

Clashes have broken out between anarchists and police in Greece on the sidelines of a peaceful march to the US embassy in Athens.

The incident happened during the annual commemoration of a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by the military dictatorship which ruled the country from 1967 to 1974.

Protesters holding red flags demonstrate, in central Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. AFP/Getty Images
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate, in central Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. AFP/Getty Images
A protester, right, walks to fire a firework towards police as another, left, runs to throw a firebomb, during small scale clashes, outside Athens' Polytechnic University complex, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Dozens of anarchists who had occupied the complex threw petrol bombs and stones at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. It followed a peaceful march where thousands of protesters marched to the U.S. embassy, in an annual commemoration of a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by the military dictatorship which ruled the country from 1967-74. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate in front of the US embassy in Athens, on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Greek riot police officers stand by firebombs thrown by protesters during small scale clashes near Athens' Polytechnic University complex, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Dozens of anarchists who had occupied the complex threw petrol bombs and stones at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. It followed a peaceful march where thousands of protesters marched to the U.S. embassy, in an annual commemoration of a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by the military dictatorship which ruled the country from 1967-74. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate in front of the US embassy in Athens, on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters holding a Palestianian flag dance as they take part in a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Athens, on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
A masked protester holding a Palestinian flag takes part in a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Athens, on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. AFP/Getty Images
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate in front of the US embassy, in Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate in front of the US embassy, in Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate in front of the US embassy, in Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand guard as protesters holding red flags demonstrate in front of the Greek Parliament, in central Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand guard as protesters holding red flags demonstrate in central Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand guard as protesters holding red flags demonstrate in central Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters holding red flags demonstrate in central Athens on November 17, 2016, to commemorate a student uprising that helped bring down a US-backed junta in 1974. Some 3,000 people, according to a police source, participated in the annual march to the US Embassy in Athens to mark a key moment in the restoration of democracy in the country. At least 44 people were killed in the 1973 military crackdown on the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic university, an event generally considered to have broken the junta's grip on power and helped the restoration of democracy. The bloodstained Greek flag that flew over the Polytechnic that night is traditionally carried at the head of the demonstration in the capital. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Greek riot police officers run through fire lit by a firebomb thrown by protesters during small scale clashes in Athens, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Several thousand people marched to the U.S. Embassy in Athens under tight police security to commemorate a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by Greece's military junta, that ruled the country from 1967-74. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Greek riot police officers watch, backdropped by fire lit by a firebomb thrown by protesters during small scale clashes in Athens, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Several thousand people marched to the U.S. Embassy in Athens under tight police security to commemorate a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by Greece's military junta, that ruled the country from 1967-74. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Under the watchful eye of Greek police officers in riot gear and backdrop by the Greek Parliament, demonstrators march in central Athens, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Several thousand people march to the U.S. Embassy in Athens under tight police security to commemorate a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by Greece's military junta, that ruled the country from 1967-74. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Under the watchful eye of Greek police officers in riot gear, foreground,demonstrators march in central Athens, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Several thousand people march to the U.S. Embassy in Athens under tight police security to commemorate a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by Greece's military junta, that ruled the country from 1967-74. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Students shout slogans in the center of Athens on November 17, 2016, during a march commemorating the 1973 students uprising against the military junta. Greece commemorates 43 years since a violent crackdown of a student uprising against the military junta with a demonstration towards the US Embassy in Athens. More than 20 people were killed in clashes that day, but it marked the beginning of the end for the junta. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINISARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Students carry a blood-stained Greek flag in the center of Athens on November 17, 2016, during a march commemorating the 1973 students uprising against the military junta. Greece commemorates 43 years since a violent crackdown of a student uprising against the military junta with a demonstration towards the US Embassy in Athens. More than 20 people were killed in clashes that day, but it marked the beginning of the end for the junta. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINISARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Students carry a blood-stained Greek flag in the center of Athens on November 17, 2016, during a march commemorating the 1973 students uprising against the military junta. Greece commemorates 43 years since a violent crackdown of a student uprising against the military junta with a demonstration towards the US Embassy in Athens. More than 20 people were killed in clashes that day, but it marked the beginning of the end for the junta. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINISARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Students carry a blood-stained Greek flag in the center of Athens on November 17, 2016, during a march commemorating the 1973 students uprising against the military junta. Greece commemorates 43 years since a violent crackdown of a student uprising against the military junta with a demonstration towards the US Embassy in Athens. More than 20 people were killed in clashes that day, but it marked the beginning of the end for the junta. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINISARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Around 17,000 people marched peacefully to the embassy, although some protesters taunted and threw garbage at about 1,000 participating supporters of the governing Syriza party.

Some 3,000 police were deployed in central Athens as a precaution.

The violence came from another quarter of the city: Dozens of anarchists occupied the National Technical University complex, site of the failed pro-democracy revolt, and attacked police with petrol bombs, flares and stones.

Riot police responded with tear gas and stun grenades as street battles lurched outside the university in the densely-inhabited Exarcheia district, away from the embassy. No arrests or injuries were reported.

The march began at the gates of the university, also known as the Polytechnic, where in 1973 the military sent in a tank to crush student demonstrations.

Several people were killed during the crackdown, but historians disagree on the precise death toll.

The university has been the flashpoint of many anti-government protests over the years. Before the march started, suspected anarchists stole two riot police shields and helmets and hung them on a statue in Exarcheia.

In the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, 8,000 protesters marched to the US Consulate.

Anarchists attacked police with petrol bombs, and one group burned a US flag outside the building.

An anti-American protest during a visit by US president Barack Obama to Athens on Tuesday was marred by extensive clashes around the Polytechnic between anarchists and Greek riot police.

Many Greek left-wing supporters still deeply resent the US for supporting the oppressive dictatorship in Greece at the height of the Cold War.

AP

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