Thousands of people marched through the Greek capital, Athens to central Syntagma Square on Sunday to once again decry the name-change deal with Macedonia. Scuffles erupted as some demonstrators attacked riot police.
Masked protestors tossed red paint and flares at the shield-bearing officers who guarded a narrow ladder leading to the parliament building in a scene reminiscent of the movie ‘300’.
Several troublemakers then began striking riot shields with sticks and even managed to break one of them. Police initially kept their cool but eventually retaliated, using sound bombs to disperse the attackers.
However, it turned out to be a tactical retreat as scuffles reignited after a short break, with Syntagma filling with thick white smoke. Tear gas was fired as police attempted to repel several waves of charging rioters.
Nine officers were wounded during the scuffles at Syntagma, the police told AP. There have so far been no reports on the injured among the ranks of the protestors.
The rally in front of parliament started peacefully, with countless demonstrators carrying Greek flags and singing the national anthem. They also chanted slogans, denouncing the “treacherous” Macedonia name-change deal, and urging Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to not ratify it.
New polls have suggested Tsipras’ chances for being re-elected as Prime Minister are non existent. He will lose the elections to Nea Demokratia who is leading Syriza by 11%. Ratifying the agreement for Tsipras means major pay day as all parties involved in these negotiations have received huge sums of money, both on the Macedonian and Greek sides. Needless to say, Tsipras is not interested in staying as Prime Minister or his party winning the elections.