Demonstrators run away from tear gas as they clash with riot police during a demonstration against government plans to regulate street protests, in front of the parliament building in Athens, Greece, July 9, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)
Greek police used teargas to disperse demonstrators gathered outside parliament on Thursday to denounce a draft law attempting to regulate street protests in the country.
About 10,000 demonstrators rallied outside parliament holding banners reading "hands off demonstrations" over a new law proposal governing the rules for street protests that was being debated by lawmakers.
Witnesses saw people running away from police and thick plumes of smoke rising in Syntagma Square, outside the parliament building. Earlier a small group of protesters threw at least three petrol bombs towards police.
The bill, tabled for debate by the conservative government, mandates the appointment of a liaison officer, restrictions on demonstrations or outright bans if authorities deem they threatens public safety. It also holds organisers responsible for any harm or damage caused by protesters.
The issue is sensitive in Greece, where the right to protest is protected by the constitution. Street protests were a popular form of expression for many Greeks during the debt crisis that ravaged the country in the past decade.