Greek police use tear gas in Athens as left-wing marchers protest Obama's visit
Greek riot police used tear gas and stun grenades on Tuesday in Athens to disperse about 3,000 left-wing marchers protesting a visit by President Barack Obama after they tried to enter an area off-limits to demonstrators.
Police made at least four arrests and said one woman was slightly injured in the clashes, which took place far from Obama's meetings.
The violence broke out as youths in motorcycle helmets and gas masks, armed with wooden clubs and petrol bombs, tried to break a police cordon in front of a barrier formed by police buses.
Rioters pulled back to the Athens Polytechnic university complex, site of a 1973 student uprising, and engaged in running street fights with police, throwing dozens of petrol bombs.
Left-wing and anarchist groups who organized the protest had planned to reach the US embassy in Athens. But authorities banned demonstrations in a large swath of the city to ensure that protesters came nowhere near Obama, who was attending a dinner at the residence of Greek President Procopis Pavlopoulos.
About 5,000 Communist party supporters took part in a separate, peaceful protest in central Athens and 1,000 people protested in Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki.
Tuesday's violence placed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party in an uncomfortable position, formerly a key participant in anti-American and anti-austerity protests, it is now using the same crowd control measures it used to strongly deplore.
The small Popular Unity party, which took part in the main protest Tuesday, described Obama's visit as ‘a provocation’ due to that timing. Party leader Panayiotis Lafazanis also blamed the US for Greece's economic woes.