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Molotov cocktails ignite violent protests, clashes with Greek police over new austerity measures

Petros Giannakouris / AP

A riot policeman reacts after he was hit by a petrol bomb thrown by protesters during a nationwide general strike in Athens on Sept. 26. Police clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs and bottles in central Athens Wednesday after an anti-government rally called as part of a general strike in Greece turned violent.

Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP - Getty Images

Protestors chant slogans in front of the parliament on September 26, 2012 during a 24-hours general strike in Athens. Police in Athens clashed with hooded youths throwing firebombs on the sidelines of a large demonstration against a new round of austerity cuts. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKILOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/GettyImages

Aris Messinis / AFP - Getty Images

Demonstrators clash with riot police on Sept. 26 in Athens during clashes with demonstrators at a 24-hour general strike.

By NBC News' Andy Eckardt, CNBC's Julia Chatterley and wire reports

Demonstrators wearing helmets and gas masks and armed with sticks clashed with police in the Greek capital on Wednesday, as a general strike was held to protest the government’s austerity drive.

Riot police fought with the protesters wearing the black clothes favored by anarchist groups for about 45 minutes in the central Syntagma Square, letting off tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The demonstrators let off flares and a tent in the center of the square advertising an air show was set on fire. The anarchist group appeared to be trying to cause as much damage in the square as possible. Continue reading.

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Dimitri Messinis / AP

A riot police officer kicks a tear gas canister during clashes in Athens on Sept. 26. Police clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs and bottles after an anti-government rally called as part of a general strike in Greece turned violent. About 50,000 people joined the union-organized march held during a general strike against new austerity measures planned in the crisis-hit country.

Aris Messinis / AFP - Getty Images

Demonstrators run away from teargas shot by riot police on Sept. 26 in Athens during a 24-hour general strike.

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