Riot­ers leave a trail of de­struc­tion at univer­sity

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Af­ter hours of clashes be­tween self-styled an­ar­chists and riot po­lice of­fi­cers that started on Thurs­day night and con­tin­ued into the early hours of yes­ter­day, mu­nic­i­pal work­ers cleared a ton of de­bris from the area around the Na­tional Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Athens, where the un­rest caused wide­spread dam­age.

Work­ers gath­ered chairs and bro­ken doors that riot­ers had brought out into the streets from the hall at the NTUA where they had been holed up man­u­fac­tur­ing the Molo­tov cock­tails with which they pelted riot po­lice.

There was also dam­age to traf­fic lights, road signs, side­walks and parked cars.

In­side the univer­sity grounds, the dam­age was just as bad. Apart from graf­fiti-cov­ered walls, the univer­sity’s man­age­ment dis­cov­ered bro­ken and burned doors, chairs and desks, smashed up mar­ble stairs and beaten up fire ex­tin­guish­ers.

A to­tal of 13 peo­ple were ar­rested in the clashes that fol­lowed a march on Thurs­day night to com­mem­o­rate the an­niver­sary of a stu­dent up­ris­ing against Greece’s junta in 1973. Of the 13 peo­ple de­tained, eight were Greeks, three were Syr­ian refugees, one was Ro­ma­nian and one Al­ba­nian. Most were aged be­tween 19 and 21, ex­cept the Ro­ma­nian, who is 16.

Around 40 self-styled an­ar­chists were oc­cu­py­ing part of the univer­sity build­ing un­til shortly af­ter 7 a.m., when they left the area.

The NTUA’s former rec­tor, Theodoros Fort­sakis, now an MP for con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy, blamed the gov­ern­ment for not do­ing enough to avert such up­heaval. “Once again, we are wit­ness­ing these wretched scenes,” he said. “The leg­isla­tive frame­work is in place, it is sim­ple and clear. What is needed is the will of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and the de­ci­sive­ness of the [univer­sity] sen­ate for its im­ple­men­ta­tion,” he said.

The union rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try’s po­lice of­fi­cers also slammed the gov­ern­ment, but for other rea­sons. “Our col­leagues are not punch­ing bags and the po­lice force is not there to ab­sorb pop­u­lar dis­con­tent or for any kind of crim­i­nal plans or po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency,” a state­ment is­sued by the union said.

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