According to dozens of posts on social media networks and confirmed by Hellenic Police (ELAS) sources, hooligans from four different groups in Athens played a central role in the violent events that unfolded on Tuesday night after a protest march in the suburb of Nea Smyrni.
A total of 10 officers were injured, one seriously, in the clashes that started after more than 5,000 people marched through the densely populated residential area to protest the beating of a man by police last Sunday during spot checks for the implementation of health measures.
In their social media posts, the hooligans said they were putting aside their sports club loyalties and differences to join forces for one reason only: to attack the police.
“The best goals are scored when the people finally unite,” said one caption of a video that was published on a fan account on Instagram showing young people with hoods and iron bars moving en masse to the main the square of Nea Smyrni.
An account of an organized fan club of another Attica team published a photo from the gathering in Nea Smyrni against the backdrop of a banner with the slogan “Democracy dies in the place where it was born” and the acronym “ACAB” (All Cops Are Bastards).
The said photo’s caption read: “Smyrni is only the beginning! You will find us in front of you!”
Other fan club posts expressed similar aggressive sentiments and threats of more violence to come.
The events on Tuesday were also lauded by hooligans abroad, who reproduced images on their own social media accounts, rejoicing over the fact that hooligans of all groups in Athens united to attack police.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon police arrested the man they believe pushed a police officer off his motorcycle during the clashes. The suspect, identified as a 30-year-old Greek Iraqi, was arrested in a warehouse in the town of Magoula, western Attica, where he works. He has a previous drug-related arrest.
The officer, a member of the DIAS motorcycle-riding unit, subsequently sustained blows to the head by a number of people before his colleagues managed to reach him. The victim is being treated in a military hospital for his injuries but his life is not at risk.