NEWS

Anarchists firebomb ministry

Police yesterday bolstered security in central Athens after a group of around 30 suspected anarchists hurled petrol bombs at the offices of the Culture Ministry in Exarchia, causing damage to a parked car belonging to the ministry but no injuries. Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, who had been preparing to leave the building when the attack occurred, said he believed he had been the target. «This is the fourth time I find myself the target of these attacks, directly or indirectly,» he said. «If they had wanted to hit the ministry, they could have struck at dawn without putting anyone at risk,» he added. Seeing the assailants outside the ministry yesterday, Voulgarakis's bodyguards fired several warning shots in the air. Officers believe the attack, which took place at around 10 a.m., had been carried out to express solidarity with accused bank robber Yiannis Dimitrakis, who faces trial on Friday for his alleged involvement in a January 2006 bank heist in central Athens which led to three people being injured in a shootout. Police detained 14 suspects before releasing them without charge for lack of evidence. Monday's attack against the offices of Ethniki Insurance on Syngrou Avenue, which caused widespread damage, is also believed to have been in support of Dimitrakis. The police force, which fears further attacks before Friday, plans to increase patrols in downtown «hot spots» and monitor possible targets. Voulgarakis has been unpopular with leftists since his previous role as public order minister. Last year the terror group Revolutionary Struggle detonated an explosive device by remote control outside his home. «Democracy will not be terrorized,» Voulgarakis said yesterday.

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