Athens, Greece -- An estimated 100,000 people took to the streets during a nationwide general strike that grounded flights, shut all services and pulled news broadcasts off the air.
Hundreds of demonstrators broke away from the marches and tried to storm parliament, shouting "thieves, traitors." Groups of anarchists hurled Molotov cocktails and ripped-up paving stones at buildings and police, who responded with barrages of tear gas.
Three bank workers — a man and two women all aged between 32 and 36 — died of smoke inhalation after demonstrators torched their bank, trapping them. As their colleagues sobbed in the street, four others were rescued from a balcony.
A senior fire department official said demonstrators prevented firefighters from reaching the burning building. "Several crucial minutes were lost," the official said on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement. "If we had intervened earlier, the loss of life could have been prevented."
Fifteen civilians and 29 police were injured in what Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrisohoides called "a black day for democracy." Twelve people were arrested in Athens and another two in the northern city of Thessaloniki, which also saw clashes between police and demonstrators
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