Hundreds of protesters chanting "Nazis Out!" clashed with police outside parliament during a general strike rally against austerity.
Police used pepper spray against the protesters, who burned a German flag, during a brief flare-up of violence at the rally which was joined by some 25,000 people despite the heavy rainfall.
The generally peaceful rally, organized separately by general and communist trade unions, was called against widely reported plans by the government to slash the minimum wage and impose other drastic cuts.
Unions and employers have already rejected calls to cut the minimum wage, currently at 751euros per month, arguing that it would make the country's four-year recession even worse.
"This is a crime against the nation," Vangelis Moutafis, a top strike organizer at the country's largest union, the GSEE.
"They are driving wage-earners into absolute poverty. They are wiping out the unemployed and retired people ... They are selling off the state for nothing. This must not continue. It's a crime and it must be stopped now."(Athens News/gw)