SYRIZA MP Giorgos Kyritsis issued an apology on Thursday over his claim that nobody had died in Greece from petrol bombs, after he was accused of offending the victims of a deadly firebomb attack on a branch of Marfin Bank in central Athens during anti-austerity riots in May 2010.
Kyritsis on Wednesday defended government plans to change the country’s criminal code that would reduce the manufacture and possession of homemade firebombs from a felony to a misdemeanor, in which the leftist MP said that “in the 30 or more years that I worked as a journalist I do not recollect anyone being killed by a Molotov cocktail.”
“My statement was wrong. The reason is that the crime committed in Marfin holds a distinct place in the collective consciousness of Greek society. The crime in Marfin had no precedent and thankfully there has not been a similar crime since,” he told news website ethos.gr.
He described the reaction to his remarks as “justified” and added that he was referring to the frequent street fights between police and protesters and not to the bank incident.
Kyritsis noted that the change in the draft legislation concerns the possession of petrol bombs and not their use, which will remain a felony.
Three bank workers, including a pregnant woman, died of smoke inhalation while becoming trapped in the flaming building, as rescuers were prevented from approaching the location by protesters throwing projectiles at emergency response units and blocking access.