Molotov cocktails were thrown at police lines as thousands protested outside the Greek parliament where lawmakers were voting on painful reforms demanded by Brussels.
It was a night of clashes and petrol bombs outside the Greek parliament as inside lawmakers argued bitterly over bailout terms.
At least 40 people were arrested in the confrontation between what’s thought to have been anti-establishment protesters and police.
Cash machine were destroyed, rubbish bins set alight and one television crew car was over turned – no one was injured.
Observers declared it the most serious violence in more than two years.
Our reporter Apostolos Staikos was there:
“It started as a peaceful march against the new reforms but soon, the city center turned into a battlefield. A group of masked men threw stones and Molotov bombs at the police, who responded with tear gas,” he said.Earlier striking public sector workers were among thousands who took to the streets in a series of otherwise peaceful marches.
“I would say to our prime minister, to Alexis Tsipras, that he has betrayed us. He’s betrayed our hopes and we honestly thought that he cared for our country. We thought that he was different. We do not trust old governments, old politicians. He was our last hope,” said one women.
One man said he was fed up with the lies:
“We’ve had enough. More than 200,000 young people left the country. They are the future of Greece and we send them to German factories. What for? We should all stay in Greece and work. Altogether, as one.”
Most who took part had no illusions about what the rallies could achieve but after several years of hardship some said a demonstration was an appropriate way to show their anger.
Despite the numbers taking part, opposition on the streets has so far been limited, and an opinion poll published on Tuesday suggested more than 70 percent wanted parliament to approve the bailout.