Pharmacists’ union president condemns tear gas use

The president of the Association of Pharmacies of Attica, Konstantinos Lourantos, condemned on Thursday the extensive use of tear gas by riot police officers in Syntagma Square on Wednesday.

?The events of yesterday were criminal,? Lourantos said, speaking on Skai Television on Thursday morning.

Lourantos, who headed a makeshift first aid unit in the Syntagma Square metro station during Wednesday?s riots in order to help medics treat hundreds of protesters suffering injuries from clashes with violent rioters and police, as well as breathing problems from the use of the tear gas, said that his repeated calls to police officers in charge to desist from the use of tear gas were not met.

Volunteers at the first aid center, Lourantos added, made repeated calls for donations of oxygen tanks and other medical supplies to pharmacies and hospitals around the country, as well as to individuals. He said that oxygen supplies ran very low during the afternoon of Wednesday, putting patients and volunteer medics and pharmacists at serious risk.

A second appeal for supplies, according to Lourantos who admitted to losing consciousness himself at one one point during the afternoon, was met with help arriving from Thessaloniki and significantly alleviating problems at the first aid center.

?The riot police, who take orders from above, cannot be allowed to break up an otherwise peaceful protest simply because they have been ordered to evacuate the square,? said Lourantos.

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