NEWS

Thessaloniki 5 refuse liquids

Ahead of next Monday’s 30th anniversary of the Polytechnic student uprising and in the light of recent unrest among Greece’s anarchists, senior police officials are planning intense security measures to prevent riots during the three-day event that starts on Saturday. Anarchists have stepped up a five-month fire bomb campaign demanding the release of seven people arrested after the June 21 anti-globalization riots in Thessaloniki, which caused over a million euros in damage. Five of the suspects are in the hospital after a month-long hunger strike, and now refuse liquids. The annual celebrations of the Polytechnic revolt, which laid the foundations for the collapse of the 1967-74 military dictatorship, and build up to an annual march on the US Embassy – scheduled for Monday – are often hijacked by anarchists and vandals who seize the opportunity to clash with police and attack banks, businesses and vehicles. A senior officer told Kathimerini yesterday that police will be on high alert, mainly due to fears of anarchist agitation. Further cause for concern is the possibility of riots by extremists sympathetic to the 19 suspects now on trial for membership in the November 17 terrorist group. Five of the June 21 detainees were in a Thessaloniki hospital yesterday after being admitted on Friday with failing health as a result of their hunger strike. On Sunday they stopped drinking. All five – Spaniards Carlos Martin Martines and Fernando Perez Gorraiz, Briton Simon Chapman, Syrian Suleiman Dakduk and Greek Spyros Tsitsas – deny charges of rioting and possession of fire bombs, and demand release on bail. Suspects can be held for up to 18 months without trial. Their lawyers will table new release appeals today, on health grounds.