NEWS

Police: Attendance at Prespes deal protest at 60,000

police-attendance-at-prespes-deal-protest-at-60-000

According to official police figures, attendance at the protest rally against the Prespes deal did not exceed 60,000.

That's below the 140,000 who attended a similar rally last February, before the deal was signed, and far below the “over 600,000” that protest organizers had expected.

Police also said a total of 326 buses came into Athens from other parts of Greece, a far cry from the organizers' claim of 3,000  buses.

But the rally was marred by scuffles, although limited in scope.

Demonstrators threw rocks, flares, firebombs, paint and other objects at riot police who responded with tear gas. Some protesters jumped over a fence and others tried to scale the steps behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but officers chased them back down. One man draped in a Greek flag attacked police with a large stick, while others swung big flags on wooden poles and struck officers.

Police said ten officers were injured.

In northern Greece, farmers temporarily blocked the highway leading to Skopje in solidarity to the protesters. The route is now open.

[Kathimerini/AP]