Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas shoppers flee amid clashes in Athens

Anti-government rioters try to burn down Greek capital's main holiday tree

ATHENS, Greece - Riot police clashed with rock-throwing demonstrators in central Athens on Thursday, sending Christmas shoppers and people in cafes running for cover. Frightened parents scooped up their children from a Christmas carousel in the city's main square and fled. The protesters broke away from a peaceful rally and hurled rocks and firebombs at police and buildings near parliament, overturned a car and set fire to trash bins. They also splashed police with red paint. Police responded with tear gas. Firefighters and police also stopped an effort Thursday to burn down the city's main Christmas tree, which was replaced this week after being torched in riots.

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