Amid the whiff of teargas, flares from Molotov cocktails and the rattle of rocks hurled at police, Greece is witnessing the worst rioting it has seen in a quarter of a century. Much of downtown Athens has been shut down for days with damage to banks, hotels and cars already running into millions of euros
In a change of tactic, the police response to rioters has generally been more robust and a number of arrests have been made. A plaza in front of the Greek parliament was a particular target for demonstrators to show their anger but police seemed determined not to allow it to become a battleground.
The police however had to move in carefully to make their arrests. After all, it was the shooting dead of a 15-year-old youth which sparked the riots in the first place. Since the protests began, demonstrators have not been voicing particular policy goals, but they are united the Caramanlis government must quit.
Meanwhile, in the same area outside parliament, a separate group of demonstrators held what they had planned as a peaceful protest.They claimed they were the alternative to all the violent protests of the last few days. The only guns they wielded were symbolic paper ones printed on posters.