Fierce clashes, firebombs as thousands flood Athens

Masked youngsters have attacked police in Athens as tens of thousands poured onto the streets to protest the unity government’s public spending cuts and steep tax hikes.

Some 7,000 police were deployed as more than 30,000 protestors filled the streets of Athens Thursday to protest against step austerity measures as Greece teeters on the brink of collapse.

Watch video of the clashes in Athens

As young anarchists attacked police who had formed a cordon outside of the Greek parliament, the officers responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

The latest chaos in the Greek capital underscores the daunting task faced by New Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, as he attempts to avert a financial meltdown.

Papademos, who was appointed head of crisis coalition government last week, won a confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday

However, the former central banker is now faced with the daunting task of securing the next installment of a 130-billion-euro bailout by implementing a new austerity budget and significantly overhauling the public sector.

And much as in Italy, the Papademos’s government, while strongly backed by Brussels, was not popularly elected and thus faces an uphill battle to win support and push through the massively unpopular measures.

Thursday’s demonstrations coincided with a commemoration of a bloody 1973 student uprising which was violently crushed by the then-ruling military dictatorship

Evoking the memory of those killed while fighting against the military junta, Papademos called for unity as Greece faces yet another potential tragedy.

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