At least two journalists were rough-handled by riot police who broke up a protest in Athens that erupted after an elderly man fatally shot himself in an act of apparent debt despair, a police source told Agence France-Presse on Thursday, while Saki Television reported that the police will be holding an investigation into the injury of Antenna TV reporter Rania Maniou.
Police used tear gas to clear central Syntagma Square on Wednesday night after coming under attack by stone-throwing youths on the sidelines of a spontaneous anti-government protest held several hours after the 77-year-old man’s shocking suicide.
About 2,000 people had poured into the area early in the afternoon, leaving flowers, candles and handwritten messages at the foot of a cypress tree where the man, a retired pharmacist, had shot himself. Some of the notes called for an «uprising of the people.”
One of the journalists, who works for state television NET, said riot police had rough-handled media on the scene despite their efforts to identify themselves.
“I identified myself as a journalist but riot police shoved me away nonetheless,» state television NET journalist Giorgos Gerafentis told the station’s morning show.
“I fell from the sidewalk onto the street, but luckily I was not hurt,» he said.
Meanwhile, police sources told Skai Television on Thursday that an inquiry will be launched into the alleged attack by riot squad officers of Maniou, who was being treated for injuries sustained as officers tried to disperse protestors from Syntagma Square. According to witness reports, the young journalist was hit by a riot squad officer with a baton on the nape of her neck. [Combined reports]