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Severe riots in Athens | Free press

After police beat a man with batons, kicks and blows during a check on the corona measures on Sunday, a demonstration against police violence escalated.

Athens (AP) – Hundreds of hooligans and autonomous people fought a street fight with police in the Greek capital Athens on Tuesday evening.

According to official information, five officers were injured, some seriously, and 16 suspected rioters arrested in the middle-class district of Nea Smyrni. The Conservative government blamed the leftist opposition for the riots on Wednesday. Despite Corona’s restrictions, youth organizations and unions of the left-wing Syriza Party and the communist KKE called for a rally against police brutality – knowing that riots would ensue.

The demonstration, with several thousand participants, was initially peaceful. It was directed against police brutality: On Sunday, police officers beat a man with batons, kicks and punches during corona checks in Nea Smyrni. The action was later condemned by all parties and even the police union. Before the end of the rally, however, rioters took over the action on Tuesday-evening.

Video and television material showed that they destroyed cars and set fire to garbage cans and trees. Many were armed with incendiary devices, fireworks and iron bars. A police officer was seriously injured: rioters pulled him off his motorcycle and then kicked the man lying on the ground. It was not initially known whether protesters were also injured. The government accused the opposition of not only accepting this with its appeal, but also consciously bringing this about.

Syriza shows the behavior of an extremely small party, government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said on Skai station on Wednesday. “We see pictures and slogans that are reminiscent of 2011 and 2008.” At the time, there were many demonstrations in Athens because of the financial crisis. The rioters’ marches were regularly captured, with serious riots, injuries and even deaths.

Conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also criticized opposition leader Alexis Tsipras for calling for demonstrations during Corona times. This is an act of great irresponsibility. The opposition for its part pointed out that it was the government that drove people into the streets. Parliament wants to tackle the riots on Friday.

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