Mostly peaceful protests called by Greece's two largest labor unions have turned violent as police clashed with a few of the approximately 30,000 protesters in Athens. And while graphict images (notably, disturbing photos of a motor cycle policeman hit by a petrol bomb) have swept TV stations and the web, police are "are relieved that violent episodes haven't been more widespread," reports the Wall Street Journal. The strikes have paralyzed public transportation, cancelled flights, closed businesses and shut down many government agencies including schools and hospitals.

Still, the striking images arriving due to the sustained response to the government's austerity program are having an effect. Markets have "jutted lower" after CNBC aired a fiery image of the protests in Athens. "The measures forced on us by the agreement with our lenders are harsh and unfair," the deputy leader of Greece's largest union, the GSEE, told The Associated Press. "What is increasing is the level of anger and desperation...If these harsh policies continue, so will we."

Here's one of the graphic images that everyone is finding troubling, for obvious reasons. Pictured is a Greek policeman hit with a petrol bomb thrown by protesters:



Photo used under permission from Associated Press Images.