Thousands protest as police clash with rioters

Tens of thousands of people turned out in central Athens on Tuesday to protest against the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the capital in demonstrations that were mostly peaceful but marred by some isolated outbreaks of violence.

Police, who mounted a large security operation, stopped and searched 217 people while 24 were arrested and charged for a range of offenses. Some of those detained were stopped ahead of the rally in preventive checks while others are believed to have been involved in attacks on police who warded off youths hurling stones by firing tear gas. A couple of the detainees are believed to be linked to urban guerrilla groups Revolutionary Struggle and Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, Kathimerini understands. Lawyers of suspected members of Revolutionary Struggle, currently on trial at Korydallos high-security prison, reportedly complained that some of their witnesses could not make it to court as they were detained by police in central Athens. Conspiracy claimed responsibility for parcel bombs sent to several EU leaders, including Angela Merkel, in 2010.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras took part in the peaceful protests and accused Greece?s coalition leaders of being ?Merkelistes,? or Merkelites, seeking the chancellor?s affirmation. Later, at the opening of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation?s offices in Athens, Tsipras accused Merkel of wanting to build a ?German Europe.? The foundation is allied to Germany?s leftist Die Linke party