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Athens police, protesters clash in anti-American demonstrations

By
Sarah Mulé
Protesters take to the streets in Athens in response to President Barack Obama's visit to Greece on Tuesday. Various unions, labour associations and leftist groups took part in the protests while using the slogan Obama is not welcome in Greece -- No participation of Greece in the imperialist plans and wars. Photo by Alexandros Vlachos/European Press Agency
Protesters take to the streets in Athens in response to President Barack Obama's visit to Greece on Tuesday. Various unions, labour associations and leftist groups took part in the protests while using the slogan "Obama is not welcome in Greece -- No participation of Greece in the imperialist plans and wars." Photo by Alexandros Vlachos/European Press Agency

ATHENS, Greece, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Police in Athens said they used tear gas and stun grenades to quell violent demonstrators who took to the streets overnight to protest against the United States and a visit by President Barack Obama.

Leftist groups clashed with police Tuesday night, some throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. Nearly 8,000 protesters used the march to speak out against the European Union, NATO and the International Monetary Fund.

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"A march by [the All-Workers Militant Front] ended peacefully. A second march pushed up against a police cordon and protesters threw two Molotov cocktails," an Athens police spokesman told Al Jazeera. "That's when the clashes began."

Greece usually holds an anti-American protest every Nov. 17 in response to U.S. support for the country's military dictatorship from 1967-74 and the use of force to shut down a student protest in 1973.

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Protesters this year moved up their demonstrations to coincide with Obama's visit.

In a news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday, Obama spoke out in support of NATO while urging other NATO-involved countries to pull their weight.

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"There's a recognition that the NATO alliance is absolutely vital and the transatlantic relationship is the cornerstone of our mutual security as well as prosperity," he said.

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Obama then praised Greece for securing its own defense while under economic constraints and urged other countries to follow Greece's example.

On Wednesday, Obama visited Athens' ancient Acropolis and delivered remarks at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. Later in the day he is expected to travel to Berlin and will finish off his three-country tour in Peru later in the week.

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