Police fired tear gas at protesters, who retaliated with rocks. The violence left more than 300 people injured — including 131 policeman and 181 civilians — and 50 stores damaged.
The AP writes of a shocking moment of violence in which a stun grenade explodes in the hand of a Greek policeman, severing a finger. Both police and demonstrators frantically began to search for the missing digit. “The ferocious display evoked a society unhinged,” the AP writes. (The finger was eventually found.)
Dramatic videos of similar moments of violence emerged Thursday, including one video in which a policeman strikes a man, who was yelling and falls to the ground after being struck:
Another video, by YouTube user giannisoethel1969, who has uploaded about 20 videos of the riots, shows Syntagma Square in Athens as it falls under an eerie silence Wednesday:
The AP’s Christopher Torchia writes that much of the current protests, extreme as they appear, are grounded mostly in performance.
At one noisy protest, a young man made eye contact with a policeman in silence, then drew a finger across his throat in a slitting motion. Another agitated man plucked a few grimy euro banknotes from his pocket and waved them at police lines. “Here, you want my money? Take it!” he fumed sarcastically before pocketing the money again.
“Do you want a kiss?” the policeman joked.
And for just that moment, rage turned into laughter.