15 Mar 2009

Youths damage shops, banks in central Athens

11:27 am on 15 March 2009

Police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of 100 hooded youths who went on a rampage in an upmarket shopping district in central Athens on Friday, destroying shops and banks.

The youths, many carrying iron bars and huge pieces of marble, smashed up 40 shops and banks and destoyed dozens of cars along Skoufa Street, causing panicked shoppers to run for cover.

Police retaliated by firing tear gas into the crowd. There were no injuries or arrests.

Greece has been hit by a wave of violence since December, when weeks of riots followed the fatal police shooting of a teenager and public discontent over high employment and scandals.