NEWS

Three remanded in pretrial custody over assault on school principal

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Three of 11 suspects belonging to a radical new anti-vaccination movement who were arrested over last week’s assault on a school principal in northern Greece were ordered to remain in pretrial custody on Tuesday.

The three men – one aged 61 and the other two aged 41 – will be held Larissa Prison in central Greece pending trial on charges of kidnapping, among other offenses, as they are believed to be the ringleaders of the assault that took place at a high school in the region of Pieria last Friday.

The other eight suspects – including a retired police officer – have been granted conditional release. The terms of their release foresee bail of 2,000 euros, a ban on travel and on coming within 500 meters of a school, and the obligation to report to their local police precinct regularly.

All 11 have admitted to being members of the self-proclaimed “Guardians of the Constitution,” a far-right, fringe, anti-vax group that has risen to some prominence in recent weeks for increasingly aggressive antics such as harassing medics and citizens at vaccination centers.

In their latest escalation last Friday, they attacked the school principal, put him in handcuffs and forcibly dragged him to the local police station, demanding his “arrest” because he upholds coronavirus safety regulations in his school.

Members of the group often sport official-looking uniforms and badges.