ATHENS, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The latest Greek general strike on Thursday was marred by the death of a protester when a march turned violent.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Athens and other major cities to denounce austerity measures imposed since 2010 to reign in government expenditure and in exchange for vital bailout funds. Greece's ongoing debt crisis threatens it with bankruptcy and an exit from the eurozone.
"No to further austerity, no to slow death," read banners raised by protesters in front of the parliament building.
The mobilization was scheduled to coincide with a European Union (EU) summit in Brussels. Greek government officials are also currently negotiating additional spending cuts worth 11.5 billion euros (15 billion U.S. dollars) in return for another installment of rescue funds this autumn.
"We did not create the crisis. We should not pay for it," crowds chanted in rallies organized by the umbrella labor unions of private and public sector workers, before skirmishes broke out between groups of hooded youth and police.
A 65-year-old man died of heart attack and five persons, including two police officers, were slightly injured. More than 50 youths were detained, according to police, as some pelted rocks and petrol bombs at anti-riot police who responded with tear gas.
The deceased was a ship worker, unemployed for six years and member of the Greek Communist party, according to local media reports. A 53-year-old protester died in a similar incident on Oct. 20 last year during a general strike.
In May 2010, when Greece struck its first bailout agreement with EU/ International Monetary Fund creditors in exchange for austerity and reforms, three bank employees died when a building was torched by hooded youth.
Despite the tragic end to what were meant to be peaceful anti-austerity demonstrations, unionists and protesters warned of more strikes in the coming weeks and months. Unions plan a pan-European protest day on Nov. 14.