84 charged over peace march riots

Eighty-four youths arrested following extensive riots in central Athens during Wednesday’s anti-war protest were charged yesterday with offenses ranging from causing explosions to breach of the peace. Four of the suspects face criminal charges of causing explosions and possession of explosives, as well as the misdemeanors of damaging foreign property, resisting arrest and breach of the peace. All are to appear before an examining magistrate today. The other 80 – including four minors who will face a special prosecutor for underage offenders – were formally accused of illegal arms possession, breach of the peace and attempted bodily harm. Eight policemen, one journalist and a cameraman were injured during the riots that started in Syntagma Square at the beginning of Wednesday morning’s demonstration against the US and British invasion of Iraq and continued along the route of the march to the US Embassy on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue. Hooded anarchists – many of whom wore gas masks to handle the copious amounts of tear gas used by riot police – threw petrol bombs at police, smashed bank and shop windows and burned down bus stops. A total of 105 people were initially detained for questioning. During the suspects’ appearance yesterday at the main Athens courts complex, a couple of hundred friends and sympathizers protested at their arrest while a large riot police detachment was on hand to forestall further trouble. Similar protests on Wednesday had shut down Alexandras Avenue outside the police headquarters where the 105 were held. Meanwhile, arsonists poured petrol over a police jeep and set it on fire early yesterday in the southern suburb of Glyfada, severely damaging the vehicle.