Athens Welcomed Obama with Molotov Bombs and Tear Gas
On Tuesday morning, Barack Obama arrived in Athens for his final foreign trip as president of the United States.
A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Greece.
On the morning of November 15, 2016, Barack Obama arrived in Athens for his final foreign trip as president of the United States. The last time a US president visited Greece was in 1999; in the wake of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Bill Clinton was greeted in Athens with riots and banners "denouncing him as a 'fascist murderer.'"
To avoid a similar scene, the Greek government banned any anti-American demonstrations for the week and installed 4,000 policemen in the center of Athens, while the American government flew more than 500 CIA agents, too. Yet, by Tuesday afternoon, about 6,000 people had gathered in downtown Athens to protest Trump's election, the war in Syria, the Greek national debt, and America's existence in general.
The demo was made up of several leftist, anti-fascist, and anarchist organizations whose plan was to march from the city center to the American embassy. As expected, they didn't get far—a few minutes into the march, two police vans blocked the road, the demonstrators tried to walk over them, and the police retaliated with stun grenades and tear gas. The clashes went on until about 3 AM, while by Wednesday morning the police had reported six arrests.
No riots were reported in Thessaloniki, but people still burned American flags.