Inquiry launched into policeman accused of hitting protesting cleaner

An internal police inquiry has been launched into the actions of a riot officer accused of hitting a woman protesting her dismissal from the Greek Finance Ministry's cleaning staff on Thursday.

The unnamed officer was allegedly wearing a lined glove that is not standard police issue when he pushed one of the protesting cleaning women to the ground.

The protest of dozens of Finance Ministry cleaning ladies who were among some 400 sacked as part of the government's civil service streamlining program made international headlines on Thursday after the Supreme Court suspended a ruling by a lesser court justifying the protesters' demand to be rehired.

The news of the Supreme Court's decision sparked a fresh outcry from the protesting women, who had been camped out on central Syntagma Square for several days in demand that they be rehired. Skirmishes ensued with riot police dispatched to disperse the cleaning ladies from the Finance Ministry's entrance.

"Unfortunately, such brainless, criminal types do exist," the president of the union representing police officers, Christos Fotopoulos, told Mega TV after footage emerged of one riot officer violently pushing a protester to the ground.

Further images from the scene of the clash showed that the officer was wearing a type of hard glove normally used by motorcyclists. Other media suggested that the officer may have been holding a knuckle duster when he pushed the woman.

"It just makes me even more determined because [such cases] have not been dealt with in an exemplary manner," Fotopoulos said, calling for further inquires into other instances where riot officers have been accused of using excessive force.