NEWS

Angry protesters target politicians

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos suggested on Thursday that a demonstration outside Parliament on Tuesday night, which obliged police to evacuate lawmakers from a back exit in the building, and an attack on a delegation of MPs on the Ionian island of Corfu the next evening by protesters throwing stones, had been politically guided.

?Shame on those who instigate these things. Shame on them!? Loverdos said during a heated discussion in Parliament on Thursday.

?We should bring the issue to Parliament because there are political forces behind those who throw stones and jeer,? Loverdos added before directly asking a Communist Party (KKE) deputy to explain Wednesday?s nights events on Corfu.

?Did you set up the assault on Corfu?? the minister asked Haralambos Haralambous. The latter expressed indignation at the question and asked whether it had been targeted at him or at KKE as a whole.

Meanwhile, on Corfu, local authorities expressed exasperation over Wednesday night?s incident, which obliged MPs to flee the main port on a boat with its lights dimmed to elude an angry mob.

The group chased the delegation of around 40 Greek and European deputies – including Deputy Labor Minister Anna Dalara and local MP Angela Gerekou – as they concluded a discussion on illegal immigration. Some threw stones and other objects at the MPs with one stone narrowly missing a delegation member?s child.

Corfu Mayor Yiannis Trepeklis said the incident had damaged the island?s image as the tourism season begins. ?This is not the image we want to project. We have learned to welcome people,? he said.

In a related development, late on Thursday a group of protesters threw eggs, yogurt and stones at government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis while he was visiting a retirement home in Argyroupoli, southeastern Athens.