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Greek Police Use Pepper Spray On Protesters Ahead Of Bailout Referendum

Friday was the final day of campaigning ahead of Sunday's referendum that could lead to Greece's exit from the Eurozone. About 25,000 people turned out for a "no" rally, and about 17,000 for a "yes" rally, police said.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Police in Athens, Greece used pepper spray on dozens of protesters in the city's historic Syntagma Square on Friday, two days ahead of a major economic bailout referendum that could lead to the country's exit from the Eurozone.

The anti-government protesters' clashes with police were overall brief, and no major injuries were reported. They came just before a major "no" rally, which was supported by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's administration. Overall about 25,000 people arrived for the demonstration, police told the Associated Press.

AP reported that police used the pepper spray to stop the protesters from throwing objects and destroying property around the square.

Tsipras is asking voters to reject a proposal, backed by European lenders, for more austerity measures in exchange for an economic bailout. If the "no" votes win, it's possible Greece may no longer use the Euro. Tsipras has insisted that would not happen.

There was a "yes" rally not far from the "no" rally on Friday that drew about 17,000 demonstrators, police said

Here's some of the action from the ground:

"OXI means sovereignty, OXI means dignity, OXI means hope"


Lots of chanting, big gap between helmeted chanting group and police

Tear gas at the bottom end of the square. Has calmed a little now but idk what happens next.

People injured at Syntagma sq. Clashes. Riot police using tear gas. #Greece


Tsipras later rallied the crowd with a speech and chants

.@atsipras joins supporters chanting democracy #Greece #Greferendum

#Tsipras whipping up crowd at Athens no demo. Asks voters to 'turn your backs on those who terrorise you' and vote no on Sunday #Greece

#Tsipras: "we choose to live with dignity in Europe. Democracy must return here where it was born. They don't have right to blackmail us"

Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tom Namako at

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