‘Calm’ marches come amid stormy weather

The wet weather may have dampened the spirit of potential troublemakers at yesterday’s marches to mark the student uprising 32 years ago, which led to the toppling of the military junta, as the protests were much tamer than authorities had expected. «This year’s march was the calmest in history. Its peaceful and commemorative nature was preserved, as befits a democracy,» said Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis. He congratulated police for their «professionalism and coordination.» Some 7,000 officers had been placed on duty in the center of Athens alone to try and prevent the type of attacks on the French Institute, car dealerships and police, which unfolded over the previous week. Around 7,000 demonstrators attended this year’s march – some 5,000 fewer than last year. Police said they took 42 people into custody in Athens after some skirmishes, chiefly on Alexandras Avenue, where a group of about 400 protesters threw rocks and pieces of wood at officers. But 37 of the suspects were released soon afterward. Two men were arrested after one was found to be carrying a knife and the other had pepper spray in his possession, officers said. Some 10,000 people attended the march in Thessaloniki, which turned out to be more violent as groups of anarchists threw firebombs at police before running into university grounds, which officers are not allowed to enter. Protesters also burned two American flags in front of the US Consulate.

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