ATHENS—A largely peaceful protest Wednesday by tens of thousands of Greeks against new government austerity measures was marred by violence in central Athens late in the day, when hundreds of youths wearing ski masks hurled water bottles, firecrackers and other objects at police, who responded with tear gas and pepper spray.
Still, the one-day protest was restrained by the standards of recent Greek actions. It came a year after a mass antigovernment demonstration turned deadly as unknown assailants firebombed a bank building, killing three workers.
"There have been 24 detentions and two police officers have been hurt," said police spokesman Panagiotis Papapetropoulos. "There was a small group of protesters that threw objects at police, and there was some use of tmaneargas, but the clash was fairly minor."
Police estimated a modest turnout in the capital of some 20,000 people, while organizers put the number at around 30,000. The protest was backed by a nationwide general strike that effectively shut down most government operations.