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Activists mark 40 years since failed uprising

Police protect fascist party offices with tear gas

Tens of thousands of students and trade unionists have joined marches through Greece's two biggest cities to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student uprising against the ruling military junta.

Previous marches have been marked by riots and running battles between anarchists and riot police but this year's event went off without incident.

In Athens 9,000 police were deployed and 99 people were detained before the start of the marches on Sunday.

But in the port city of Patras police fired tear gas at around 200 demonstrators who hurled rocks and petrol bombs at the offices of the fascist Golden Dawn party.

Up to 25,000 trades union supporters joined one march in Athens and a similar number of Communist Party supporters marched in a companion demonstration.

And around 15,000 turned out to march in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where no incidents were reported.

The demonstrators combined the commemoration with rallying calls to fight the government's vicious austerity programme.

Despite claims by the Cabinet that austerity is drawing to an end, cuts are still being forced on the government by troika representatives who are now in Greece to contest optimistic estimates of the state of the economy.

While the marchers gathered, the anti-austerity message was broadcast by the ousted workers of Greece's former national broadcaster ERT despite police threats to shut down any illegal broadcasts.

Sacked ERT professionals, dismissed when the government closed the company to meet cuts demands by troika representatives, set up a small makeshift radio station inside the National Technical University of Athens, widely known as the Polytechnic.

Both marches in the capital met outside the US embassy, about two miles from the Polytechnic, the centre of the 1973 revolt.

Greeks still condemn the US for supporting the 1967-74 military regime.

The student revolt was crushed when a tank stormed through the university's gates in the early hours of November 17 1973.

A prosecutor's report issued the following year after the fall of the military junta put the number of deaths at 34, while more than 1,100 students and their supporters were injured.

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