NEWS

Police thwarted as anarchists target US envoy’s home

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

A municipal worker cleans a spray-painted slogan calling for Dimitris Koufodinas' release from prison off the clocktower of Thessaloniki City Hall, in northern Greece, on Wednesday.

TAGS: Politics, Crime, Justice

A special plan that the Greek Police (ELAS) said it has for guarding the US Embassy and the adjacent residence of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt did not stop members of the anarchist group Rouvikonas from vandalizing his home.

The attack, which occurred at around 4 a.m., involved 10 people wearing crash helmets, who lobbed bottles of paint at the walls of the ambassador’s residence.

In a video of the incident posted online by Rouvikonas, the assailants can be seen setting off a smoke bomb and fleeing on motorcycles.

The group said the act was in solidarity with convicted November 17 terrorist group hitman Dimitris Koufodinas, who has been on hunger strike since May 2 over a judicial council’s refusal to approve his latest request for a furlough.

A police guard who had been on duty in a guard box outside the ambassador’s home notified police, who dispatched officers to the scene. However, eight people subsequently detained were released without charge as no evidence could be found to connect them to the attack, nor were they linked to previous attacks by the group.

According to police sources, a plan involving officers from several departments – including the motorcycle-riding DIAS, YMET riot police and “Z” units – is in effect for guarding the US Embassy and ambassador’s home.

YMET and Z officers are stationed at strategic points near the embassy but appear not to have seen the assailants. Meanwhile, DIAS officers who patrol the area had been away from the scene at the time.

The attack was the second this year on the ambassador’s residence. In January nationalists had defaced a wall with graffiti opposing Greece’s name deal with what is now North Macedonia. In the same month, Rouvikonas also vandalized the entrance to the embassy’s car park to protest “US imperialism.”

In a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning, Pyatt condemned the attack, describing it as “childish vandalism.”

“Destruction of property is not peaceful protest,” he wrote. Later in the day, he said that such “acts of hooliganism” undermine Athens’ image as a destination for tourism and investments.

The attack was also condemned by Greece’s Foreign Ministry as an “unacceptable and irresponsible action, which nonetheless shall not affect the friendship and the expanding cooperation between our two countries.”

Conservative New Democracy slammed the government for failing to crack down on far-left violence.

Last night, self-styled anarchists clashed with police guarding an event in Athens where former conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras was in attendance.

“That’s Tsipras’ Greece for you,” Samaras said as he was leaving.

Meanwhile anarchists expressing solidarity with Koufodinas rallied outside another event in Thessaloniki where ND MEP candidate Vangelis Meimarakis was speaking.

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