Greek communists try to topple Truman statue in Syria air strikes protest

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Supporters of the Greek Communist party during clashes with riot police, after they tried to pull down a statue of US President Harry S. Truman during protests against US-led airstrikes in Syria, in central Athens. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters and the statue was not damaged. (AP Photo)
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Greek Communist Party supporters clash with police as they try to bring down a statue of former US President Harry Truman during a demonstration against air strikes on Syria by the United States, Britain and France, in Athens. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Greek communists try to topple Truman statue in Syria air strikes protest

  • Protesters used a metal grinder to try to cut off the statue’s feet and tug it down with ropes before riot police intervened.
  • Several hundred KKE supporters marched to the US Embassy in the third such demonstration, in Athens, against Saturday’s air strikes.

Athens: A group of Greek communist party supporters tried to take down a statue of former US president Harry Truman in central Athens on Monday during a protest against air strikes on Syria by the United States, Britain and France on Saturday.
Protesters clashed with police who used tear gas to disperse the crowd, a Reuters witness said. At least three protesters were injured, with blood visible on their heads. Several hundred communist party supporters joined the rally. 

Protesters used a metal grinder to try to cut off the statue’s feet and tug it down with ropes before riot police intervened and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.The statue suffered minor damage. At least three protesters were injured, with blood trickling from their heads, a Reuters witness said.
Several hundred KKE supporters joined a march to the US Embassy, a couple of miles from the statue, in the third demonstration in Athens against Saturday’s air strikes on what Western powers said were Syrian chemical weapons installations.
“What we did today is a symbolic move against the US and the war (in Syria),” said Yorgos Perros, a member of the communist-affiliated union PAME. “The statue is a symbol of imperialism and the United States in Greece.”
The 12-foot, bronze Truman statue, also not far from the prime minister’s office, has been a regular target of protesters who have vandalized or attacked it with paint against what they call American “imperialism” in Greece.
Many also believe Washington backed the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967-74 as well as the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 following a brief Greek-backed coup.
The statue had to be removed and restored in 1986 after being bombed. Truman was US president from 1945 to 1953.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.