A new wave of vandalism on Thursday, carried out by self-styled anarchists, fueled concerns that acts of lawlessness that have unsettled Athens and other cities in recent weeks are becoming increasingly commonplace.
In one such incident, unidentified assailants hurled red paint at a lecturer inside a University of Piraeus auditorium and scattered fliers, later claiming in a post on an anti-establishment website that the action was in protest at the “persecution of anarchists as individual terrorists.”
In comments to Kathimerini, the professor who was assaulted, Mary Bossi, described the attack as a “social intervention,” adding that it should not be blown out of proportion and granted more significance than it merits.
“Such phenomena have no place either in society or on university grounds,” the Education Ministry said. Leftist SYRIZA meanwhile issued a statement, condemning the attack. “Acts of this kind are an affront against state universities and pave the way for authoritarian thinking favoring privatization,” it said.
Opposition New Democracy blamed Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, noting that the fact the incident occurred during a lecture “confirms that the situation at universities is out of control.”
ND noted that the assault on Bossi came just a few days after self-styled anarchists vandalized the rector’s offices at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, assaulted a professor at the capital’s Panteion University and occupied the rector’s office at the University of Athens.
The union representing Greek university academics said the assailants were set on “terrorizing university communities, curbing free speech and… essentially abolishing the university asylum that they invoke and ostensibly champion.”
In another incident, vandals smashed windows at two banks on central Athens’s Kaningos Square, apparently in response to a police operation earlier in the week to clear out three anarchist squats in the city center.
Meanwhile, in Thessaloniki, another group suspended a banner from the window of SYRIZA’s third-floor offices on the corner of Aristotelous and Egnatia streets, expressing support for jailed anarchist suspects identified in the Greek media as Irianna and Pericles.