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Greek riot police used tear gas, pepper spray and batons in scuffles Thursday with anti-austerity protesters who took to the streets despite a partial ban on demonstrations in the capital during a visit by German President Joachim Gauck.
The scuffles in central Athens broke out when a group of several dozen demonstrators attempted to break through a police cordon set up on a major avenue as they headed toward the Finance Ministry. The demonstrations by hundreds of union members were about job cuts and the government's ongoing austerity measures, and were unrelated to Gauck's visit.
Citing security concerns, authorities banned all demonstrations from 8 a.m. to 7p.m. local time in parts of central Athens. Several austerity-related protests, however, had already been scheduled.