Greece: Angry police kick off 2-day anti-austerity protests

Hundreds of Greek police officers, backed by colleagues from other uniformed services, have staged a protest in the country's second-largest city against austerity measures in the bailout-hit country.

The officers, carrying black helium-filled balloons, marched through the center of Thessaloniki on Friday. The march launched two days of protests against state spending cuts that have been imposed for the past seven years to meet the demands of international creditors. The cuts have caused a steep rise in poverty levels in Greece.

Many of the officers at Friday's rally will be on duty over the weekend when other demonstrations are planned by Greek unions and left-wing protest groups.

The rallies were timed to coincide with a visit to the city by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is inaugurating an annual international trade fair .