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Clash over injured Greek protester

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Riot police detain a protester during clashes in Athens on Wednesday (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

Riot police detain a protester during clashes in Athens on Wednesday (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

Riot police detain a protester during clashes in Athens on Wednesday (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

Demonstrators have clashed with riot police in central Athens during a protest over a severe injury to a protester during an anti-austerity march in the city on Wednesday.

Youths hurled broken chunks of marble and fire bombs at riot police, who responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades.

The clashes broke out during a demonstration by about 5,000 protesters from left-wing groups and unions amid condemnations of alleged police brutality over the wounding of a 31-year-old man in the first protest.

The man is in a critical condition after undergoing brain surgery.

Greek authorities have often been accused of using heavy-handed tactics against protesters or immigrants. The fatal police shooting of a teenager in Athens in 2008 provoked two weeks of rioting which left hundreds of shops damaged.

"The government bears full responsibility for the brutal and unprovoked homicidal attack," the Synaspismos left-wing coalition said.

The country's largest labour union, the GSEE, also issued a statement condemning "acts of police violence and the severe injury of protesters" at the rally.

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The government has expressed regret over the protester's injuries and promised a full investigation.

Police spokesman Athanassios Kokalakis conceded that some officers "display an exaggerated response, and they will be identified and dealt with".

Wednesday's clashes between petrol bomb and stone-throwing anarchists and riot police broke out during an otherwise peaceful march by some 20,000 people protesting against the Socialist government's painful austerity measures.


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