ATHENS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - About 4,000 people gathered for an anti-austerity demonstration in Athens' central Syntagma Square on Thursday but in sharp contrast with previous violent protests there were no barricades and barely any police.
The demonstration was the first major anti-austerity gathering since the newly elected government run by the left-wing Syriza party took office and almost immediately opened up the area for political gatherings.
Syntagma Square, which borders on the parliament building and is close to Greek ministerial offices and the prime minister's office, has been the scene of violent clashes with riot police in recent years as Greeks have railed against European Union-imposed austerity.
Thursday's protest was called to support the new government's tough stance with the EU, with whom it is seeking an end to the stringent budget rules. (Reporting by Jeremy Gaunt; editing by Andrew Roche)
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