Greek Prime Minister Georges Papandreou laid a wreath Friday at an improvised memorial outside a firebombed Athens bank where three people died last Wednesday during violent anti-austerity protests.
AFP - Greek Prime Minister Georges Papandreou on Friday mourned the three victims of a firebomb attack in Athens by visiting the gutted bank where they died during anti-austerity protests.
Greece mobilises against planned austerity measures
For the third time in three months, Greece was shut down by a general strike on May 5. Demonstrators brandish the Greek flag in front of the parliament building.
In the most violent day Greece has seen since the Socialists came to power in October 2009, close to 30,000 people gathered to protest austerity measures proposed by the government.
Tens of thousands of people mobilised for the largest anti-austerity protest to date, chanting slogans against the “IMF junta”. The International Monetary Fund and the European Union have offered Greece a bailout package contingent on severe budget cuts.
The strike shut down schools and administrative buildings, while workers at banks and in the public sector adopted a deliberate “go-slow” approach.
The police marshalled their forces to re-establish order in the streets of Athens, maintaining “a state of general alert” to control the unrest that led to the deaths of three people in a bank fire.
Dozens of young people threw Molotov cocktails at the Marfin bank in central Athens, setting it aflame with some 20 people still inside. Three people died in the fire that ensued.
A policeman throws a teargas canister during clashes between security forces and demonstrators.
Wearing shirtsleeves, Papandreou placed a flower on an improvised memorial outside the branch of the Marfin bank group on a busy street in the capital, then spoke with passers-by before departing, NET public television reported.
His visit had not been publicised by his office, but it was captured on video by an NET cameraman who was in the vicinity.
A pregnant woman was among the three bank employees killed when hooded youths broke a window and hurled firebombs into the bank on the sidelines of street protests against cutbacks aimed at curbing Greece's debt crisis.
Their deaths shocked public opinion and led President Carolos Papoulias to warn that Greece -- on the verge of becoming the first eurozone nation to default -- had "reached the edge of the abyss".
Labour unions have vowed to keep fighting against the austerity plan, which parliament endorsed on Thursday as a key step towards Greece tapping into an EU-IMF rescue fund.
Date created : 2010-05-07