ATHENS, Greece – Thousands of Greek protesters marched Thursday to the U.S. embassy in Athens, in an annual commemoration of a 1973 student uprising that was crushed by the military dictatorship which ruled the country from 1967-74.
Police estimate about 17,000 people turned out for the protest in Athens, including about 1,000 supporters of the governing left-wing Syriza party.
In the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, 8,000 protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate.
Some 3,000 police were deployed in central Athens to guard against potential violence. Before the march started, suspected anarchists stole two riot police shields and helmets and hung them on a statue.
Well away from the embassy, dozens of anarchists who had occupied the Polytechnic University complex threw petrol bombs and stones at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
The complex was site of the 1973 pro-democracy uprising and has been the flashpoint of many anti-government protests over the years.
An anti-American protest Tuesday during a visit by President Barack Obama to Athens was marred by extensive clashes between anarchists throwing petrol bombs and stones and Greek riot police.
Many Greek left-wing supporters still deeply resent the U.S. support for the oppressive dictatorship in Greece at the height of the Cold War.
The march Thursday began at the gates of the Polytechnic, where in 1973 the military had sent a tank crashing in to evict the students. Several people were killed during the crackdown, but historians still disagree on the precise death toll.
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