A 30-year-old man accused of starting a mob attack on a police officer during clashes in the Athens suburb of Nea Smyrni on Tuesday night is due to testify to a prosecutor on Saturday over charges that include attempted murder.
The unnamed suspect is accused of pulling the officer off the back of a motorcycle during a riot that broke out on the sidelines of a protest rally against police brutality in the wake of a violent incident on Nea Smyrni’s main square incident last weekend.
According to witnesses quoted by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), once the 27-year-old police officer was pulled off the motorcycle, he was set on by a mob, getting kicked and hit in the head and other parts of his body with fists, feet, sticks and rocks.
Several officers present at the scene reportedly said in their statements to investigators that the attack was so “vicious” they could not approach their injured colleague for several minutes. They also reported hearing members of the mob that was attacking their colleague say: “Kill him… f***k him up.”
One officer was quoted by the ANA-MPA as saying that the worst of the violence against the police officers dispatched to contain the riot was carried out by around 500 people from an estimated 1,500 protesters.
“They all looked the same, they were saying the same slogans and insults, carrying the same objects in their hands,” another officer testified, saying that the worst of the offenders were armed with iron rods, sticks, makeshift firebombs, stones and flares.
“Some were on the frontline, they were leading the attacks, standing out,” the same officer was quoted as saying.
The 30-year-old has denied accusations that he instigated the assault on the 27-year-old patrolman, saying that he was nowhere near the area at the time of the incident.