Mayor hurt in Athens tram riot

The mayor of Palaio Faliron in southern Athens was hospitalized yesterday after being beaten by riot police during a protest by residents of the coastal suburb against the routing of the capital’s new tram network through the area. Dionysis Hadzidakis, who, ever since his election last October, has fought for alterations to the tram route, fainted after being hit by baton-wielding riot police deployed to prevent protesters from disrupting tramline construction work on Achilleos Street. The incident followed an attempt by Hadzidakis to break through the police cordon toward the work site. The mayor is expected to spend at least two more days in hospital. The Palaio Faliron municipal authority opposes the use of Achilleos Street for the tramline, and has launched a court battle to keep tram construction teams off the street. Nevertheless, tram planners, under pressure to complete the project in time for next summer’s Olympic Games, have already started works. Last year, Hadzidakis led a failed effort to prevent the felling of dozens of trees on coastal Poseidonos Avenue to make space for the tramline.

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