Protesters, riot police scuffle in Athens

Riot police have used tear gas and pepper spray during scuffles with union members protesting austerity measures, during a ban on demonstrations in parts of central Athens due to a visit by German President Joachim Gauck.

Scuffles broke out Thursday when a group of several dozen demonstrators attempted to break through a police cordon on a major avenue in an effort to march to the Finance Ministry. Babis Agourakis, an MEP with Greece's Communist Party (KKE), was slightly injured during the clashes, reports said.

The demonstrations were unrelated to the visit by Gauck, who was meeting with his Greek counterpart and was due to visit the site of a Nazi massacre in central Greece Friday.

Authorities banned all demonstrations from 8 a.m. to 7p.m. local time in parts of the city, citing security concerns. Several hundred union members, mainly construction workers, had already scheduled demonstrations. [AP, Kathimerini]