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Europe

Arson attacks hit Athens

Latest update : 2008-12-25

During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, seven cars, a bank and a government building in Athens were damaged in arson attacks. No-one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

AFP - Seven cars, a bank and a government building in Athens were damaged early Thursday in a fresh wave of arson attacks following three weeks of protests after a teenager was killed by a police bullet.
  
The attacks began at 2230 GMT at a bank in the southern district of Palio Faliro, whose entrance was torched, a police source said.
  
Within two hours, similar strikes using gas cannisters damaged three cars at a Citroen dealership in downtown Athens, another car at an Opel showroom down the road, and three more at a second Opel outlet in a southern district.
  
An agriculture ministry office near the city centre was also targetted but no injuries reported thus far, the source added.
  
There have no claims of responsibility for the attacks, which come after three weeks of daily protests over the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by a police officer on December 6.
  
The death of Alexis Grigoropoulos sparked youth protests which degenerated into the worst rampage Greece has seen in decades with hundreds of shops smashed or looted in Athens and other cities.
  
The street violence later subsided but protesters kept up attacks on police targets, targetting police stations and vehicles with Molotov cocktail bombs and stones and injuring dozens of officers.
  
On Tuesday, at least seven shots were fired at a riot police van from a park within the Athens university campus.
  
One of the shots slammed into the engine and two of the tyres burst but the 23 riot police inside were unhurt.
  
The interior ministry later said that two Kalashnikov rifles had been used in Tuesday's attack which has reopened a controversial debate on whether police should be allowed to enter and search university grounds.
  
Such access is now forbidden without explicit permission from university authorities under education laws dating from the restoration of democracy from the seven-year army junta in 1974.

Date created : 2008-12-25

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